IBM has introduced a new technology in India, which combines broadband internet, VoIP and electricity via a single line. The technology, called Broadband over Power Line(BPL), does not require any additional infrastucture, because it offers speedier internet access and better quality of VoIP via the already exisiting power lines, so users will be able to pay a single bill for all three services. IBM is currently in talks with various utility providers to launch the system in India, within the next few months.
Occasionally I post on this blog developments in technology that can help citizens create, disseminate and access content on and for the web and internet through their PC’s in rural areas – especially as an aid to develop content that strengthens peace and supports reconciliation. One such development I came across was through an interesting news story I read today – on how India is offering broadband and VoIP over power lines.
I wonder what the pitfalls of adopting such an approach for Last Mile access for accessing the web and internet would be in Sri Lanka. According to this page, 73% of Sri Lankan households have electricity, though this does not take into account significant disparities between Provinces and Districts, or even the quality of service (power cuts are a daily occurrence in many parts of Colombo). However, it’s an interesting idea. Broadband over power lines (BPL) has been around for a while in countries like the US & Canada, and as this Wired report from 2005 notes, it’s another way through which the web and internet can penetrate into communities hitherto deprived of access.
“BPL isn’t necessarily an ideal end-to-end solution,” he said, “but one that can play a role along with technologies like wireless and fiber optics to bridge the last mile.”