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Winchester Powerline Trials Underway
By: MarkJ - 20 August, 2003 (8:40 AM)

Following a slight delay, Southern Electric’s trial of broadband Powerline (hi-speed Internet via power cables) technology will officially get underway in Winchester today:


A Winchester family is to become the first in England to take part in the commercial trial of a new broadband internet connection delivered not over telephone wires but across the electricity network.

Mark and Sue Phillips, of the city’s Nursery Gardens, will be on the receiving end of super-fast internet access following enabling of the first electricity sub-station providing the service.

Mum of two Sue Phillips, who fundraises for local charity Caring in Crisis and is chair of Winchester community project The Home Nursery Green Group, joined local business and community representatives, Deputy Mayor Councillor Mrs Cecily Sutton, and Southern Electric’s Director of Telecoms Dr Keith Maclean to mark the start of the trial today (Wednesday 20 August).

Following successful pilots in Scottish towns Crieff and Campbeltown, and the launch of a commercial trial in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Southern Electric selected Winchester as the first English city for further trials of its broadband system.

The new technology is called Powerline Communication (PLC) and takes advantage of Southern Electric’s extensive electricity network in the area. PLC sends the broadband signal along the electricity wires and cables that bring power to homes and offices – delivering access to the internet at speeds of up to 20 times faster than dial-up connections directly through standard electrical sockets.

Southern Electric’s Director of Telecoms Dr Keith Maclean said: “Our broadband service has two major benefits – speed and portability. There are a lot of technologies available which make downloading files very quick, but we’re also offering increased speeds for uploading too. That means not only fast web surfing and downloading large files, but sending large attachments via email becomes much easier.

Being able to plug in and use this fast internet connection from any electrical socket in the home or office is also a big bonus and offers new levels of flexibility to broadband users.

We aim to have several hundred residents and businesses using our broadband service in Winchester by the end of the year
”, he commented.

As well as speeding up Internet access for leisure use, it’s predicted that the new service will prove to be a boon for local businesses. Keith Maclean added: “Small businesses and people who work from home will benefit enormously from high-speed Internet access.

It’s perfect for keeping in touch with colleagues and sending and receiving large files. And the fact that it’s delivered through electrical sockets means it keeps the phone line free so there are no missed calls.

Winchester’s first broadband customer, Sue Phillips, said: “We’re really excited about being the first people in the country to use this new system. Both my husband and I are heavy users of the internet, at work and at home. The increased portability and speed of this broadband system are big benefits for us. The children love using the computer for games and it’s brilliant that they have the opportunity of really fast internet access.

The 1,000 or so trialists are expected to receive a 1Mbps service costing roughly £30 per month.

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