Liverpool To Trial 200 Mbps Powerline Broadband

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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More than 1,000 Liverpool homes will get broadband over power lines, thanks to smart meters

More than 1,000 homes in Liverpool are participating in a trial using smart metering technology to deliver broadband Internet access, according to the Liverpool Daily Post.

The trial, being carried out by Scottish Power and Plus Dane Homes, began in the summer and will see the installation of smart meters in 1,200 homes in Toxteth in the spring, according to the paper.

Experimental technology

The companies will reportedly then use the technology to experiment with providing broadband at speeds of up to 200 Mbps.

Scottish Power began installing the smart metering equipment in July and needed to work in a low-key way due to the fear of cable thefts, said Mark Knowles, low carbon economy manager for The Mersey Partnership (TMP), the region’s inward investment agency, in the report.

Power line-based broadband, also known as Powerline Digital Scubscriber Line (PDSL) delivers data networking as a high frequency signal sent over the electric grid, instead of using telephone cables or fibre-optics.

This has the advantage of providing a connection to subscribers who are off the fibre network, and who don’t have good enough copper links for good broadband. has the potential benefit  as one of its advantages the use of the existing power grid infrastructure.

The technology was proposed as an alternative medium in the early days of ADSL broadband,  but was sidelined because copper-based broadband fell in price, and there were casese where powerline broadband systems interfered with radio communications.

Now, as broadband moves towards a faster generation of services, BT and Virgin Media are going all out to provide higher speed links using fibre optic cable. However, a new generation of poweline broadband  has come back out of the woodwork, helped by the overlap with smart grid technology.

Smart grids are intended to provide more intelligent control over electricity use in homes and businesses. they require smart meters to be installed, and Liverpool is taking advantage of this to reduce the additional cost of installing powerline broadband.

As part of the trial electric vehicle charging points will also be established at an area supermarket, to be used mainly for the supermarket’s delivery vehicles. Merseytravel has applied for £4m to install 400 such charging points across the city, according to the report.