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Google Backs Powerline CarrierGoogle Backs Powerline Carrier

Electric Ethernet gets a boost as Google, Goldman Sachs, and Hearst invest in Current Communications

July 8, 2005

2 Min Read
Google Backs Powerline Carrier

Ethernet-over-powerline service provider Current Communications Group LLC has received "strategic investments" from some new big-name backers in the form of Goldman Sachs & Co., Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and The Hearst Corporation (see Google Backs Current Comms).

Following the positive decision regarding broadband over powerline (BPL) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last October, the company has attracted a new round of funding to expand its operations (see Powerline Ethernet Gets the Nod and BPL Players Applaud FCC).

While Current says it's not revealing any financial details, the Wall Street Journal reported that the round, which included input from existing investors EnerTech Capital and Liberty Associated Partners, LP, was around $100 million.

Google is saying little about its involvement other than the following statement: "As part of our corporate mission, we are interested in promoting universal access to the internet for users. We support and partner with a variety of solutions for internet access."

Current, which is already offering its service across the electricity network of Cinergy Corp. in Cincinnati, Ohio, sees massive potential for further broadband uptake in the U.S., and is looking to provide its service across the infrastructures of other power utilities. Recent statistics show there were 36.5 million broadband users in the U.S. at the end of March this year (see Report: Broadband Lines Hit 164M).

The company also plans to expand its operations overseas, but hasn't specified which markets it's targeting.

Powerline communication is viewed by some as an eccentric niche of the communications market, but the FCC's decision has sparked renewed interest in the technology (see SEI Receives Powerline License and Intellon Spews Powerline News).

And developments aren't restricted to North America, as European standards body European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has tested powerline technologies, and a BPL service is already available in Hong Kong (see ETSI Tests Powerline Telecom and Redback Finds BPL Angle).

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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