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Electric wire-based Internet debuts in Korea

Posted March. 14, 2001 18:37,   


The world`s first ultra highspeed Internet access via power rather than telephone lines was completed here Wednesday.

Power Line Communication (PLC) is a new technology for transmitting voices, data and pictures through the electric wires that supply power to homes and offices. It can be used not only for Internet communication, but also for VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), home networking and home automation.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy held a demonstration session at a model house at the Taeho Building in Socho-dong, Seoul, as part of the opening of a model Internet village involving communications through power lines. The event was attended by some 60 Koreans and visitors from other countries. The model village consists of 10 households in Socho 3-dong, the model house in the Taeho Building and one household in Kangwon Province.

Countries like the United States, Germany and Switzerland have been concentrating on developing technologies to permit such communications through power lines, but are still in the experimental stages. Korea became the first practical user of technology that enables netizens to gain Internet access at home by plugging their computer into an ordinary electric socket instead of hooking up to a telephone line.

PLC use costs 30 to 40 percent less than using conventional fiber optic cable networks. Since there is almost no need to pay for the use of power lines, communication fees are expected to drop even further.

Industry sources said PLC service would be commercialized some time next year, after solutions are found to problems related to background noise, slower service over long distances and distortions caused by electrical products.

Lee Byong-Ki eye@donga.com