From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
April 21, 2005
Contact: Bill Bragg - (512) 463-0124

Fraser's Internet Over Power Lines Bill Passes Committee

AUSTIN - Legislation authored by Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) that would potentially give Texans more convenient and economical access to the Internet through broadband over power lines (BPL) was approved unanimously by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Thursday. "This is a very positive step for the people of Texas," said Fraser. "We are leading the charge on making access to the Internet universal and inexpensive for all Texans, not just the ones who live in populated areas."

BPL delivers Internet connections just like cable and DSL but over existing electrical lines. By plugging a small modem into any outlet and connecting a computer into the modem, there is a connection to the Internet with no other installation needed. The goal of the legislation is to improve competition, lower prices and provide broadband service in underserved areas of Texas.

Senate Bill 1748 allows electric utilities to lease out their power lines to another business to operate a BPL system or service. "Providing affordable, reliable broadband service over power lines is a promising new technology," Fraser said. "It is especially important to rural Texas, where high-speed Internet service is not readily available."

The bill would also give consumers greater choices of money-saving packages of service and special offers by offering a consumer an opportunity to have his phone service over the Internet. This would increase competition in the telecommunications industry and encourage new competitors to enter the marketplace.

The technology is still in the early stages of development and the legislation mandates that BPL not affect reliable delivery of electricity. However, many in the industry believe that the technology will be successful and widespread within the next 5 to 10 years.