ISP Review - Powerline Interview No.2

ISPr does a second interview with Keith MacLean regarding Powerline

Powerline Interview No.2
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Oct 10th-2003 : Page 1 of 5

"We are currently completing the work to enable the areas and have started to connect up the first customers."

During early 2003 ISP Review was privileged to conduct a reasonably extensive interview (HERE) with the man behind SSE Telecom and the commercial deployment of UK Powerline Communications (PLC - broadband Internet access via national grid power cables) technology, Dr Keith MacLean. He is also the chairman of the PLC Forum's Commercial and Marketing Working Group.

Since then SSE Telecom, along with its regional partners, has run a number of moderately sized trials in both Scotland and England (Winchester). As these trials continue we felt that now would be a good time to question MacLean about their progress since our last interview.

Please note that SSE is unlikely to reveal any final pricing or service details until after the trial has concluded; see the first interview for related questions (link above).

NOTE: MacLean also added this little nugget regarding the nature of specific trials:

"Having conducted the technology trials in Crieff and Campbeltown, even though they come to an end from a funding perspective, we will continue to provide service beyond this as long as there is demand. For the marketing pilots in Stonehaven and Winchester, although we are looking to learn from these, the intention is to put in a permanent network and to continue to provide service as long as there is demand."

The Interview - Progress

1) Keith, can you give our readers a brief run-down of what has occurred since our last interview with you during mid-February 2003?

Since the last interview we have finalised the plans and design for PLC roll out to Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and Winchester in Hampshire. We are currently completing the work to enable the areas and have started to connect up the first customers.

2) With specific regards to performance (speed, interference etc.) how have the trials gone so far?

The trials have gone well so far. Most of the customers are achieving symmetrical speeds of between 0.5 and 1.5Mbps. Some, on the new equipment have up to 15Mbps but there is still some work required to “productionise” the installation of this.

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