Electricity lines used in new broadband pilot

Rural Cumbria will receive broadband through electricity lines as part of a new scheme.

Broadband will be delivered to the village of Shap in Cumbria as part of a new pilot using live power lines.

US firm Gridline Communications has joined forces with Electricity Northwest, which controls the grid in the Shap area, to bring broadband to the 1,000 or so residents in the village.

The project also aims to bring smart meters to homes in the area.

Although it didn't say how fast the connections would be, Gridline Communications hopes success could lead to a full-scale roll-out across the 2.5 million smart meter homes on the Electricity Northwest grid.

Few details have been released about the pilot, though it will no doubt be similar to another powerline broadband scheme announced by Liverpool city council last year.

Although powerline broadband could help deliver internet connections to rural areas, the government has expressed concerns about the technology in the past.

"The cost of deployment and providing services is relatively high," the government said in its paper Britain's Superfast Broadband Future. However, Gridline Communications said "pricing of our equipment will be in line with all other competitive broadband products such as DSL or cable modems," according to ISPreview.co.uk.

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