Google Likes Power
Invests in Broadband-Over-Powerline Company
Jul. 7, 2005 04:00 PM
Current Communications provides broadband Internet access over electrical powerlines, a service now available primarily in Cincinnati, but which is planned to be rolled out nationwide.
Google has just become an investor in the company, in an attempt to drive more widespread adoption of broadband access. Current's major investor remains Liberty Associated Partners, which is enthused about the future of this idea. "Clearly the technology is ready to be pushed into new
markets and we are spending a great deal of our time trying to
do that," Scott Bruce, managing director of both Current and Liberty, reportedly said.
Internet access over powerlines has been touted as a way to deliver broadband service to rural areas, a market that is also being aggressively courted by smaller wireless providers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Powerline access also adds a new competitor in any urban and suburban markets it enters, which in theory grants consumers more choice and better pricing.
The HomePlug Powerline
Alliance is also backing this idea, developing data transfer specifications and counting Sony and Comcast in its membership.
Bruce said that the company's "attraction for having a relationship with Google is
sort of obvious. They're interested in the proliferation of
broadband generally." Google said in a statement it was "very excited to have a
relationship with Current Communications Group to help promote
better access to the Internet."
Hearst Corp. is another new backer and reportedly said the investment fit in with the
media company's distribution strategy. "We have an interest in delivering our content through the
widest possible pipes," said Ken Bronfin, president of
interactive media for Hearst. "The idea of creating another
delivery mechanism to the home, especially in underserved
areas, is attractive."