'

Aussie telcos 'looking into powerline broadband'

Australian telcos are seriously looking at broadband over powerline (BPL), according to vendor NEC -- but interference and regulatory issues are still haunting the technology.

Australian telcos are seriously looking at broadband over powerline (BPL), according to vendor NEC -- but interference and regulatory issues are still haunting the technology.

John Norton, executive general manager for public network solutions at NEC Australia, said the company is already in talks with some carriers over deploying BPL to provide "last mile broadband" access, but declined to name the carriers involved.

"Some of the larger [Australian] carriers are looking at it but they're not ready to make a firm commitment just yet," he said. "Some of the big European telcos, where they're having problems with ULL [unbundled local loop], showed some preliminary interest but we're right on the ground floor."

Despite a number of BPL trials undertaken by Australian energy companies Norton added that those showing an interest in broadband over powerline are telcos rather than utilities.

"The utility types are still struggling with the business model and with government policy," he said.

As well as regulatory concerns, questions remain on interference. "The interference issue still needs to be sorted. We're dealing quite closely with ACMA (the Australian Communications and Media Authority) on that," Norton noted.