WSJ provides an update from the US:
In a deal that could pose a new threat to cable and phone companies, Current Communications Group LLC and TXU Electric Delivery, a unit of TXU Corp., said they plan to offer high-speed Internet over electric power lines to more than two million customers in Texas.
The move marks the biggest deployment of broadband over power lines in the U.S.
Under the terms of the agreement, TXU, the biggest utility company in Texas, will sign a 10-year contract for $150 million to use Current’s technology to get instantaneous alerts about outages and to gather information about its electrical system. The technology eventually could be used to read meters and even to remotely shut off or turn on power, eliminating utility jobs.
Broadband over power lines, or “BPL,” has had technical difficulties, and ham-radio operators have objected to spectrum interference. (Current says its service doesn’t interfere with ham radio.) But the technology is regarded as a potentially powerful tool that could reshape all sorts of businesses in addition to utilities and Internet service. Because any electric outlet becomes a two-way communications portal, it could give regular appliances a communication capability. Soda machines, for example, could tell a distributor when they’re running low on cans, changing restocking routes.