From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
August 26, 2005
Contact: Daniel Womack - (512) 463-0124


Belton -- Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) conducted a demonstration of broadband over power lines here on Friday. This new emerging technology comes as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 5 (by Fraser) which authorizes the use of high speed Internet over power lines.

"Today we are demonstrating the capabilities of broadband over power lines and how county government, business and homeowners can benefit from this new technology," Fraser said. "Senate Bill 5 will enable more Texans to have a more convenient and economical access to the Internet."

Senate Bill 5, passed by the Legislature in July, allows access to the Internet through existing power lines. BPL is a new emerging technology which delivers Internet connections just like cable and DSL but over power lines. An electricity utility may lease their lines to operate a BPL service or system, and consumers will be able to access the Internet by simply plugging a device into an existing electric outlet.

"BPL gives consumers greater choices by offering the opportunity to have their phone service over the Internet via the power lines," Fraser said. "This will increase competition while encouraging new competitors to enter the marketplace. This new technology will help drive down costs while allowing all customers, including those in hard-to-serve rural Texas, more choices."

Bell County is on the leading edge of this new communications medium. The county is already using voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and is beginning tests with BPL. Working with state and federal officials, BPL technology could also be used to supply Internet service to Fort Hood.

Senate Bill 5 will also implement rules to allow new entrants into the video and cable business, and is transforming the communications industry with a rational progression towards deregulating residential phone markets.

"This is a huge step forward for Texas consumers and the communications industry," Fraser said.

"For years, the cable industry has faced little or no competition. This bill creates a fair and balanced approach to creating additional competition in all aspects of the communications industry, which will in turn bring in billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the state."

Senate Bill 5 creates a state-issued certificate of franchise authority for companies to provide cable or video service after September 1, 2005. This bill should create more choices and cheaper prices for video and cable service. "Senate Bill 5 will be the model nationwide as new competitors move into the cable business," Fraser said.

The bill ensures that while the telecommunications market is being further opened to competition, customer rates for basic phone service will remain steady. A recent study released by a research and economy firm indicated that policies supporting an increased market entry by telecommunications participants would increase spending to over $1 billion and would include over 10,000 new permanent jobs.