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Internet Via Power Lines Works, but Years Away

High-speed Internet access via power lines is as close as an electrical outlet in a house north of New York City, but bringing it to the rest of the world may be a long way off.

Under a research project by Consolidated Edison Inc. and Ambient Corp., a few modifications allow Internet data to race over decades-old power lines.

The companies hope the technology can bring cheap, fast Web access to any standard household electrical outlet.

"People have been sending signals ... through power lines for a long time," said George Jee, manager for ConEd's power line communication project. "Utilities used to send audio signals across lines to check service."

In the year-old ConEd program, Internet signals are taken from overhead transmission lines through a magnetic coupler and a communications box no bigger than a computer hard drive, both of which are attached to a common power pole.

Data is sent through the lines at a much higher frequency than electricity so neither the power nor the data flow interferes with each other.

"Our focus is on not messing with the electricity, but we can ride on it, the two can co-exist," Jee said.

News source: Yahoo! News

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