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Long Island Power to plug in to Internet

Long Island customers could start receiving Internet through power outlets, likely undercutting cable and telco offerings.

Looks like Internet-over-power-lines is heating up on Long Island. According to News.com, the Long Island Power Authority will start testing technology that provides high-speed Internet connections through people's electrical outlets, a service that could ultimately make a dent in a business now dominated by Cablevision and Verizon.

For several years, utilities across the country, including Con Edison, have been examining the technology, known as broadband over power line, or BPL. Companies like Cinergy in Cincinnati have started selling the service, which requires that customers plug in special adaptors that link to their computers via ethernet cables or wirelessly.

In addition to generating new revenue, the technology is attractive to utilities because the two-way Internet connections let them more effectively monitor their networks and their customers' electricity use. Some companies are also using the technology to provide Internet phone and video services to residential and business customers.

"We want to see if this is a business for LIPA in which we could utilize the revenue to hold down our electronic bills, which are under tremendous pressure," said Richard M. Kessel, the chairman of the power authority.