From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
April 29, 2005
Contact: Bill Bragg - (512) 463-0124

Broadband Over Power Lines Legislation Passes Texas Senate

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 by the full Texas Senate Friday. "This is great for Texas, we are leading the nation in making this new technology available to everyone," said Fraser after the legislation passed.

BPL delivers Internet connections just like cable and DSL but over existing power 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. "This is plug and play technology, if proven safe and economical we could see some exciting things come about because of this move," Fraser said.

The bill would also give consumers greater choices 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.

Power lines are believed to be able to carry data at roughly the same speeds as cable and DSL lines and because electricity in more prevalent in homes than cable or even telephone lines, a whole new infrastructure could be born overnight. "This technology is going to be great for the consumers, it will drive down costs and allow rural customers more choices," said Senator Fraser.

While companies have found that turning power lines into a stable, high-speed system of data transmission is complicated, those hurdles are constantly being cleared with new and improved technology.