Friday, August 18, 2006

PG&E talks with BPL provider short out over money

El Dorado County's electric utility provider, PG&E, confirmed it has had discussions with Maryland-based Current Communications, a provider of Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) services. However, a PG&E spokesman said that while the investor owned utility is interested in an alliance with a BPL provider, the talks have snagged over money.

Current Communications, which has attracted some $100 million in investment capital from Goldman Sachs, the Hearst Corporation and Google, wants PG&E to share in some of the start up costs to deploy BPL over its electric distribution system. No deal, PG&E told Current Communications.

Google is reportedly keenly interested in pursuing BPL as an alternative to relying on telcos like AT&T to carry the large amounts of data it sends over the Internet -- an understandable strategy given AT&T's suggestions that big media companies like Google pay access fees to use its system.

The San Francisco Chronicle story also provides a good account of AT&T's short-lived interest in BPL in 2004.

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