Broadband enters Nether-world

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A US company has claimed "breakthrough" wireless last-mile technology to deliver broadband services via natural gas pipelines.

A US company has claimed "breakthrough" wireless last-mile technology to deliver broadband services via natural gas pipelines.

Nethercomm, a California-based broadband provider, claimed on its website to have pioneered a technology to deliver TV, phone and internet services through natural gas pipelines.

The wireless, last-mile, method -- dubbed Broadband-in-Gas (BiG) technology -- would provide "limitless bandwidth", the company said.

Anne Nunally, chief operating officer at Nethercomm, said in a statement that BiG would herald a new era of low-cost broadband.

"Our Broadband-in-Gas technology represents a completely new alternative to cable video, phone and data services," she said.

"We believe we are the only company with an Intellectual Property portfolio which addresses wireless broadband communication in natural gas pipelines."

Nethercomm had been "extremely tight-lipped" about BiG until its patent portfolio was ready to go, Nunally added.

Nethercomm was developing natural gas, broadband and consumer electronics partnerships to validate and certify BiG for use in existing natural gas pipelines, the company said.

The company said it introduced signals into the gas lines using existing neighbourhood network hubs and extracting data at end-user premises with end user-installed equipment that could use digital set-top boxes. BiG used Ultra Wideband technology, it added.

"This technology is designed to effectively multiply the current available bandwidth of cable television and all other broadband systems with data capacities exceeding 10 gigabits," Nethercomm said.

Nethercomm’s technology used spectrum buried in existing natural gas pipelines. The company claimed BiG would not suffer from interference or degradation of other wireless transmissions.

Joe Posewick, president of US-based natural gas infrastructures designer EN Engineering, said BiG might "revolutionise" natural gas distribution and transmission.

“These utilities could both increase profit and decrease cost to their customers with very little investment," Posewick said in a statement.



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