Powerline Communications (PLC)
PLC is a "broadband" technology (e.g. for internet data traffic), which could compete over the "last mile" to end users with other broadband access technologies such as xDSL (broadband technology on ordinary telephone lines) and CATV (broadband technology on the TV cable network).
In Europe, North America and Asia there are dozens of manufacturers in competition with each other with regard to this PLC technology. The principal operators of such PLC systems will be the energy supply companies, which will then be in a position to provide their customers not only with electricity but also data services (e.g. the internet) and other telecommunication services over the power line network. As generally applies, the operator is in principle free to choose the manufacturer of the PLC system to be installed.
Two types of PLC can be distinguished:
On the one hand there is "narrowband" PLC technology; this uses the frequency band from 9 kHz to 148.5 kHz and is based on the CENELEC EN 50065 standard; it allows data transmission rates of the order of 150 kbit/s.
On the other hand, there has recently been talk of "broadband" PLC technology; in frequency terms, this is localised between 1.6 MHz and 30 MHz and is expected to allow transfer of higher data rates (e.g. internet and multimedia applications). For the time being, there are no international standards for broadband PLC. In order to make the most of all the possibilities offered by this technology, further standards will have to be drawn up at international level.