The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday gave a de facto go-ahead for the implementation of Broadband over Power Lines (BPL). The memorandum confirmed FCC support and approval of the technology and the business by addressing the various petitions for study, delay and protection that were pending before the agency. No further regulatory delays face the new industry segment.

BPL refers to the engineering feat of transmitting Internet traffic over medium and low voltage power lines. Neighborhood power networks (medium voltage) are coupled to the Internet. Downstream, Internet traffic is coupled further to the local lines that deliver power to homes and businesses. Customers will access the net via modems plugged into regular wall outlets. Power companies and owners of power distribution networks will thus compete for Internet customers with phone, cable and satellite providers, backbone-connected ISPs and wireless providers. While phones, cable and satellite may seem to be everywhere and city after city brings wireless to its residents, power distribution is truly ubiquitous.

The technology has been proven and is to be rolled out for 2 million customers in Texas by Current Communications Group and TXU Electric Delivery. California has announced plans to test BPL. Expect prices to drop and quality to increase for DSL, cable, satellite and wireless as competition unfolds. And, if you haven't already, bid goodbye forever to dial-up.