Swedish utility company Sydkraft recently began using its power lines to feed end users with high-speed Internet connections, providing a permanent connection at a flat rate.
The company is using Digital PowerLine technology from NOR.WEB, a joint venture between Nortel and British company United Utilities. PowerLine allows users to connect to a permanent connection without using a phone line.
Electric Internet access marks the latest trend in European connectivity. Italy began testing a similar service in Rome recently.
To provide the service, Sydkraft has teamed up with leading Swedish Internet service provider Tele2. Under the agreement, Sydkraft will use Tele2’s infrastructure to connect customers to the Internet.
“This is broadband technology that goes directly into the users’ homes,” said Pelle Hjortblad at Tele2.
The service currently has 100 subscribers, but the company said if all goes well, it will sign on more users.
“We think the potential in this type of market is great. This is an investment in developing new services to our customers,” said Jonas Svantesson responsible for marketing at Sydkraft. He added the program could potentially serve one million customers.
Sydkraft said it thinks that small enterprises and home office, along with regular homes, will be the main market for its new service.
The company plans to charge a flat rate of around $45 per month, which gives users up to 1 Mbps in both directions. A special modem-type box is also needed, which costs around $300.
The price structure for connecting the Net via the power lines is about the same as the cable operators are charging in Sweden. But not everyone has cable connection, which gives connection through power lines a big advantage, because this is available to every house.
Flat rate offers are sparking a lot of interest at the moment, because with all dial-in connections, users have to pay a charge per minute to the phone operator in the Swedish market.