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Ministry pushes plan for power-line Internet

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Apr 13,2004
The Ministry of Information and Communication said yesterday that it would seek revisions in Korea’s laws by October to promote the use of power line communications. Power line communication means using electrical power lines for communications such as high speed Internet connections. Consumers need only to plug in to existing wall outlets without separate data connections to the Internet. Consumers can also easily interconnect refrigerators, television sets and personal computers. The system has advantages, therefore, in home network systems. The ministry said it would ask the National Assembly to loosen regulations on power line communications and allow the use of more radio frequencies for the communications means. The step is expected to benefit households in distant regions or rural areas where cables or optic fiber network are not established, the ministry said. “The revision focuses on narrowing the digital divide of people living in technologically isolated locales such as rural or mountain areas,” said Cho Gyu-jo, director of the electronic communications bureau at the information ministry. Consumers in urban areas will also benefit from the change: Using power line communications will allow consumers to have Internet connections to all their computers through one electric power line, without additional costs or setting up broadband line per each computer. Because the power line infrastructure is already in place, connections over power lines would be cheaper than current broadband Internet service, the ministry said. But industry analysts note that all is not sweetness and light. Power lines carrying radio frequency signals radiate those signals, and can cause interference with other radio communications. The reverse is also true; radio communications can leak into power lines and interfere with services carried on those lines. Those experts suggest that the service may be more appropriate in niche markets such as rural or other isolated regions. by Chung Sun-gu


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