Israeli startup M@in.net and PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, the electric delivery subsidiary of Pennsylvania power company
(NYSE:PPL), said today they intend to expand a trial project in providing fast Internet service over power lines.
The project is based on technology developed by M@in.net, a subsidiary of
Noga Technologies (TASE:
), which has been having troubles due to the collapse of its parent company,
Noga Electrotechnika (TASE:
The two companies say they will be conducting a feasibility study on the electricity grid of PPL Electric Utilities, using Main.net's PLUS technology, which transfers data signals over electric power lines.
The two companies said that after the successful completion of the first-stage pilot in Pennsylvania, PPL is moving onto a wider phase, designed to judge the commercial feasibility of the venture. PPL intends to offer fast Internet service without need for any special installations.
Like many power utilities, PPL has been looking to improve its operational efficiency through new technologies.
"We are undertaking the feasibility study to better understand this emerging technology," said Michael E. Bray, president of PPL Electric Utilities. "PLC technology, using Main.net's PLUS system solution, has the potential to improve our business operations and revolutionize the delivery of information from the Internet."
"Main.net's PLC technology can turn the electric distribution grid into a communication gateway providing home owners with unsurpassed broadband communication flexibility," said Joseph Marsilii, president and chief executive of Reston, Virginia-based M@in.net - Power Line Communications, M@in.net's U.S. subsidiary.
M@in.net estimates that within four years, more than 40% of America's households will be hooked up to fast Internet over broadband. Its system is specially adapted to the American power system, and enables link-up from any power point in the home.
Two weeks ago M@in.net announced a $10 million order from the German power company PPC.
M@ain.net was established in 1999. Its last financing round, in February 2001, secured it $10 million at a post-money company value of $360 million.