Thursday, July 7, 2005

Current Attracts Strategic Investors for its BPL

Current Communications, a start-up based in Germantown, Maryland, attracted strategic investment from Goldman, Sachs & Company, Google, and The Hearst Corporation, one of the nation's largest diversified communications companies. The financing also included additional investments from two of Current's existing investors, EnerTech Capital and Liberty Partners (the company's principal stakeholder.

Specific financial terms were not disclosed, although a report in The Wall Street Journal reported the investment at about $100 million.

Current is a developer of Broadband over Powerline technology and services. Its BPL system is capable of providing multi-megabit speeds to every electrical outlet in a home or business without the need for rewiring. The technology could also be used to transform a utility's electric distribution system grid into an intelligent network, remotely monitored, managed and secured in real time. This could be used to manage electricity supply and demand more effectively.

  • In March 2004, Cinergy Broadband and Current Communications Group begin offering broadband over power line (BPL) services in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. A subsequent expansion was planned for Northern Kentucky and Indiana.

  • In February 2004, The FCC proposed new rules aimed at promoting broadband over power lines (BPL). Specifically, the new rules would:

    * require BPL devices to employ adaptive interference mitigation techniques to prevent harmful interference to existing users, such as public safety and amateur radio operators. These techniques would enable BPL devices to cease operations altogether, dynamically reduce transmit power, and/or avoid operating on specific frequencies to prevent harmful interference;

    * develop a public database that would include such information as location, operational frequencies, and modulation type of BPL devices, which will facilitate the resolution of interference issues in a timely fashion;

    * seek comment on specific RF measurement guidelines for BPL devices and other carrier current systems. These guidelines will ensure that emission measurements for these systems are made in a consistent manner. While the Notice addresses RF measurement guidelines, it does not propose any changes to existing applicable emission limits.