Broadband via power lines on the way for Irish surfers

11 May 2007

Later this year Irish internet users could be able to receive broadband services via the electrical wiring in their homes following agreements between US communications giant Motorola and at least two Irish broadband providers Azotel and Ice Broadband.

The sales director for Europe for Motorola’s family of MOTOwi4 wireless broadband products Ian Bayly told that the company would be rolling out broadband over power lines across Europe.

“By installing a gateway inside a meter bank in an apartment block it is possible to distribute broadband throughout a building over existing electricity circuits. All the broadband user needs is a modem from our Wi4 product portfolio,” Bayly said.

He said that Cork-based internet service provider Azotel and Dublin-based broadband player Ice Broadband will be among the first to deploy the service.

Vincent Kennedy, director of Motorola Networks Ireland, told that the plan is to use Motorola’s Canopy pre-WiMax technology that operates on an unlicensed 2.5GHz frequency.

“Canopy is a 2.4GHz point-to-multipoint system capable of transmitting up to 300MB of data. We can put one of these on top of a phone exchange and shoot that signal 30km into an area and use Canopy to share out the broadband in the last mile.”

Bayly said that once the signal reaches an apartment block speeds of 25Mbps can then be shared out among 55 users, providing between 1MB and 3MB per user.

Kennedy added: “An apartment block or hotel in Westport could link to a high site 30km away. A Canopy device on the rooftop would suck down the broadband and push it through the electricity grid providing broadband to around 55 users.”

Yesterday, Ice Broadband signed a deal with Motorola to expand its wireless broadband services across Ireland using Canopy technology and point-to-point backhaul products.

Ice Broadband chairman Fran Rooney said the deal would enable Ice to maintain the momentum of its network rollout and provide broadband and voice over IP services.

“Demand for broadband in Ireland is booming,” said Rooney “Wireless technology gives us the means to quickly and efficiently create a network that will reach customers across the entire country, regardless of the quality of fixed line infrastructure.

“Motorola’s solution is quick and simple for our engineers to install, reliable, offers excellent range and delivers high-quality data and voice transmission. It enables us to maintain the high rate of service rollout we’ve established and the quality standards our customers have come to expect,” Rooney said.

By John Kennedy