2007_01_broadband.jpgThe Internet signal you are receiving right now is probably not coming from an electrical outlet, especially if you are living in New York City. But if you are living in Europe, Cincinnati, Ohio or Virginia, then it’s quite possible that your computer’s power and broadband signal are coming from the same connection.

This technology, known as “broadband over power lines (BPL),” is one of the many new technologies being discussed by the City Council’s newly established Broadband Advisory Committee as they consider the best way to keep the city connected in the upcoming months. Also on the agenda is a list of alternatives such as DSL, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max and other wireless technologies.

But why haven’t we already gotten on the BPL bandwagon? For one, this technology could possibly interfere with other communication signals making it somewhat unacceptable to regulators. Also, many do not trust utility companies to be internet service providers. Do we need more reasons to hate Con Ed?

The newly established committee will address these issues, but will hopefully figure out what to do about the real problem (.pdf file) of why internet access is so unevenly distributed (.pdf file) and very expensive and whether or not all New Yorkers deserve affordable and accessible broadband. Just imagine, some day, all of us will be able to operate our microwaves from the same device that sends our email.