By KEN BELSON The New York Times February 17, 2006
Customers love to grumble about their phone and cable companies, and residents on Long Island are no different. But for those unhappy with their service from Verizon or Cablevision, an alternative may be on the way.
The Long Island Power Authority announced on Wednesday that it would begin testing technology that provides high-speed Internet connections through people's electrical outlets, a service that could ultimately make a dent in a business now dominated by Cablevision and Verizon.
For several years, utilities across the country, including Con Edison, have been examining the technology, known as broadband over power line, or B.P.L. Companies like Cinergy in Cincinnati have started selling the service, which requires that customers plug in special adaptors that link to their computers via Ethernet cables or wirelessly.
In addition to generating new revenue, the technology is attractive to utilities because the two-way Internet connections let them more effectively monitor their networks and their customers' electricity use. Some companies are also using the technology to provide Internet phone and video services to residential and business customers.