Broadband Over Power Line

Definition of Broadband Over Power Line

Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) is a technology that enables high-speed internet access through existing electrical power lines. It involves transmitting data signals over the same lines used for delivering electricity, making internet connectivity accessible even in remote areas without the need for separate network infrastructure. BPL offers an alternative to traditional internet service providers such as DSL or cable modem services.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Broadband Over Power Line” would be:Broadband: /’broʊd,bænd/Over: /ˈoʊ-vər/Power: /ˈpaʊ-ər/Line: /laɪn/

Key Takeaways

  1. Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) is an innovative technology that allows high-speed internet access through existing electrical power lines, enabling seamless data transfer without additional wiring or cabling infrastructure.
  2. BPL offers competitive broadband speeds and has the potential to significantly expand internet access in rural and remote areas, as power lines are more widespread than traditional telecom infrastructure like phone lines or cable networks.
  3. Despite its potential, concerns about BPL’s interference with radio frequencies, regulatory challenges, and competition from other broadband technologies have limited its widespread adoption and growth in the market.

Importance of Broadband Over Power Line

Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) is important because it presents an innovative method of expanding internet access by using existing electrical infrastructure to transmit high-speed data.

This technology enables people in rural and remote areas, who may not have access to traditional broadband services, to connect to the internet without the need for extensive infrastructure development.

BPL’s ability to turn ordinary power lines into versatile communication networks helps bridge the digital divide, fosters economic growth, and promotes digital inclusion, thereby transforming the internet landscape.

Additionally, BPL may offer increased efficiency through integration with smart grids, opening up opportunities for energy management and conservation.


Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) serves as an innovative communication technology that aims to deliver high-speed internet access by utilizing existing power line infrastructure. This unique method effectively allows for the convergence of data and power transmission in a seamless manner. One of the main purposes of BPL is to extend internet connectivity to rural and remote areas where traditional broadband options, such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or cable, are either unavailable or difficult to install.

As a result, BPL has the potential to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural communities by providing equal access to information and services online. In addition to increasing internet accessibility, BPL offers several other practical applications. For instance, BPL can enable smart grid technologies and enhance the overall efficiency of electric distribution systems through real-time monitoring and control.

This communication system also allows utility companies to employ advanced metering infrastructure, facilitating automatic meter reading and management of energy usage remotely. Furthermore, BPL supports various home automation and networking features, promoting the Internet of Things (IoT) and further empowering households to maintain control over their energy consumption and resources. Ultimately, Broadband Over Power Line establishes a versatile and reliable communication platform, revolutionizing the way internet access is delivered, while simultaneously contributing to the advancement of sustainable energy systems.

Examples of Broadband Over Power Line

In the United States: In the mid-2000s, several utility companies in the United States tested BPL technology as an alternative means of providing broadband internet access. One example was a pilot program launched by the utility company Current Communications, in partnership with Cinergy Corp (now Duke Energy) in Cincinnati, Ohio. The goal of the project was to provide a competitive broadband service to the residents while leveraging the existing power lines for data transfer.

In Spain: In 2008, the Spanish utility company Iberdrola completed a deployment of BPL technology in the city of Logroño, covering over 6,000 homes. This project aimed to provide high-speed internet access and support a range of smart grid applications such as smart meters and real-time energy monitoring. The successful implementation of BPL in this project demonstrated the technology’s capabilities for both broadband access and smart grid applications.

In Japan: In the early 2000s, TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, began testing BPL technology to provide broadband internet access to consumers in Tokyo. In partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), TEPCO conducted several pilots to test internet connectivity over power lines. This initiative aimed to increase broadband access to all citizens, particularly in areas without access to other types of high-speed internet services such as DSL or fiber-optic networks.

FAQ: Broadband Over Power Line

What is Broadband Over Power Line (BPL)?

Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) is a technology that allows the transmission of high-speed internet data over traditional power lines. By utilizing already established power line infrastructure, BPL offers a potentially widespread and cost-effective method for internet access.

How does Broadband Over Power Line work?

BPL works by sending data signals through power lines using specific frequencies that do not interfere with the electricity transmission. BPL modems plug into electrical outlets, and transformers and other equipment can be used to filter out any interfering signals. This allows the data to flow freely throughout the existing power line network.

What are the advantages of Broadband Over Power Line?

Some advantages of BPL include easy access for users without having to modify existing infrastructure, and the potential to provide internet access in areas where other options are limited or unavailable. BPL can also be used as an alternative for areas with high traditional internet service costs. Furthermore, BPL technology can improve the efficiency of the power grid by offering smart-grid monitoring and management features.

What are the disadvantages of Broadband Over Power Line?

BPL has some disadvantages, such as potential interference with radio frequencies, wireless devices, and ham radio operators. Some power lines may also require modifications to support BPL, leading to additional costs. Additionally, BPL’s performance may be affected by electrical noise or the overall quality of the power line infrastructure.

Is Broadband Over Power Line available everywhere?

Availability of BPL depends on the region and the technology deployment by utility companies and service providers. BPL is presently not as widespread as other forms of broadband internet, and its presence depends on the local conditions, regulations, and efforts of power companies to adopt this technology.

Related Technology Terms

  • High-frequency Voltage
  • Power Line Communication (PLC)
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
  • Electrical Grid
  • HomePlug Standards

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents