ISP Review - Powerline Interview

ISPr Interviews Keith MacLean Over Powerline Broadband

Powerline Interview
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Feb 24th-2003 : Page 1 of 5

"Technical issues and regulatory concerns had been a major barrier to past projects"


For some the prospect of owning an affordable, versatile and above all useful broadband connection remains just that, a prospect and nothing more. Coverage may have increased, yet the technical and financial hurdles continue to make the process a slow one.

This slow rollout of affordable solutions, of which Satellite access can not be included (too expensive and restrictive), has dogged the governments ‘Broadband Britain’ progress and irritated many a rural resident, yet this may soon be resolved.

For some time now there has been a technology capable of reaching every home in the country via nothing more than a standard power plug. Imaginatively named ‘Powerline’, Scottish Hydro-Electric ( http://www.hydro.co.uk/broadband ) has recently become the first UK Company to successfully employ its use.

Technical issues and regulatory concerns had been a major barrier to past projects, yet thankfully SSE has been able to overcome these and is now working steadily toward offering a national service.

Despite this, very little is known about just how viable Powerline would be for an average consumer and whether or not a truly national scale rollout would be feasible. Thankfully ISP Review was able to track down Keith MacLean, whom is responsible for the telecom’s division - SSE Telecom:

1) Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Keith MacLean and I run SSE Telecom, the telecoms business of Scottish and Southern Energy.

2) Can you give us a brief technical run down of how Powerline technology works?

The system works in a similar manner to DSL in that a radio signal (1.6MHz - 30MHz) is carried along the copper cables of the power network from point to point, or point to multi-point. Once we have enabled a network, all the customer needs to do is plug the modem into any mains socket and link up to the PC through Ethernet or USB.

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