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Networking The Internet IT

Unique Broadband Over Powerline Project Planned For Mosques 205

Lucas123 writes "Broadband over powerline (BPL) provider Velchip is heading up a project that will offer 60 million very unique network users an unlimited high speed Internet connection of 224Mbps at a cost of only around RM5 ($1.58) per user per month. That's the cheapest, fastest internet connection in the world. The network is slated for use in the $14 billion 'Smart Mosque' project, which will be rolled out over three years in Indonesia and will link together 400,000 mosques. To add some perspective, in the US Verizon FiOS currently offers up to 30 Mbps downloads and 5 Mbps uploads starting at $42.99 a month. BPL modems use existing electrical power lines to deliver high speed Internet access and data transmission."
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Unique Broadband Over Powerline Project Planned For Mosques

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  • Unlimited? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:20AM (#22978622)
    I think you'll need Allah's help for that.
    • Re:Unlimited? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by catwh0re ( 540371 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:59AM (#22978746)
      A fast connection to your ISP, doesn't mean you'll have a fast Internet experience.

      While this will no doubt allow the ISP to deliver cache/proxy data very quickly, it will not be financially viable to provide very fast live-internet down this pipe. E.g anything that can be classified as a web-application will probably still be quite average/slow speeds.

      The price comes about from using an existing infrastructure, as you know the biggest cost in rolling out a network is the transmission medium. (Especially if it's not your expense to maintain it.)

      • out of my current Internet connection. I don't get these broadband p!ssing contests. Such and such a country leads/trails the world in broadband connection speeds blah blah.

        As the parent said, a fast connection to your ISP is relatively meaningless. I currently have TimeWarner RoadRunner cable. I can't complain about it *too* much. Overall it provides a pretty decent internet experience.

        But, I know that the maximum download speed I ever got was somewhere around 6000 kbps (downloading a tv show from Amazon.c
        • Sorry to say this, but your connection appears to suck. I tend to get 6 mbps maxed out for most http and ftp downloads (I'm talking software updates from official servers here), throughput of less than an mbps being the exception.
          BitTorrent happily eats up most of the bandwidth thrown at it (in excess of 150 mbps on two 100 mbps lines, given a few good peers). That way, even multi-cd distributions just fly through the series of tubes :)
    • by Stellian ( 673475 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:31AM (#22978866)
      That of course if Allah has nothing against millions of believers downloading porn on bittorrent at super-high speeds.
    • I just wanted to ask a question. What does God need with a internet connection?
  • Whoa there Nelly! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:24AM (#22978634) Homepage Journal
    That's the cheapest, fastest internet connection in the world.

    No. It's not the fastet, because it doesn't exist.

    To add some perspective, in the states Verizon FiOS currently offers up to 30 Mbps downloads and 5 Mbps uploads starting at $42.99 a month.

    Yes, they do. Right now. Who knows what Verizon will be offering when (if) these guys get this network going. Awesome. The US still has better internet access than much of the third world.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      30Mb/s doesn't sound like much, if you're after the world record... A lady in Karlstad (Sweden) had her son install(*) something a bit faster: 40Gb/s. (article in Swedish: []). Although she seems to have used this opportunity to do much more than dry her laundry. * I think the initiative came form the son, not the old lady.
      • by Niten ( 201835 )

        I agree that we're well behind many parts of the world when it comes to fast Internet access. However, you can't take the single, well-publicized case of the Swedish lady with a 40 Gb/s connection on top of specialized networking gear, and extrapolate that to make any meaningful statements about the overall state of broadband availability in Sweden versus in the United States.

        • by beh ( 4759 ) *
          Would you rather hear it from from the Wall Street Journal's principal tech columnist Walt Mossberg? (Listen to the first part of Mossberg's comments on the video: [] )

          I also seem to remember something quite a while back here on slashdot about some annual internet usage survey, which also kind of highlighted that the US is leading the pack in technology, but that Europe/Far East are leading in technology adoption.

          Having the 'might' of the US IT
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The US still has better internet access than much of the third world.

      You must be so proud.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The US still has better internet access than much of the third world.
      Comparing our internet access to third world countries is pathetic. Why don't we have better internet access than ALL of the third world, if not the best internet access, period?
      • by asuffield ( 111848 ) <> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @01:17PM (#22980836)

        Why don't we have better internet access than ALL of the third world, if not the best internet access, period?

        Because bad internet access is more profitable. If everybody had gigabit lines to their homes, it would be very hard to sell "faster" business lines to businesses at an inflated cost. By artificially limiting the low end of the market, they inflate the value of the high end, and hold the whole thing together by passing laws to block any competition. Isn't capitalism grand?
      • Why don't we have...the best internet access, period?

        Because you and your neighbors will not always be the best at absolutely everything despite your charmed American position.

        It is indeed going to be a long fall from that high horse on which you ride.
        • It is indeed going to be a long fall from that high horse on which you ride.

          You sound like you speak from experience.

    • Third World? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lorien_the_first_one ( 1178397 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @09:52AM (#22979438)
      Hardly a fair comparison. Japan vs. the US is a much better comparison. In some parts, they are offering 1Gbps. In most places, the average is 60 Mbs for about $35/mo.

      Republicans have never been big on competition. Just ask their friends who helped to write the 1996 Telecommunications Act. That whole "Republican Revolution" was really a revolution for their *Republican* investor friends.

      Bear Stearns will quietly tell you that Bush just wanted to bail his friends out. That's the free market for ya.

      Until the market gets *really* free from the incumbents, we aren't going to see very high speeds on our internet connections. Here's a great link on the subject of how Bush and his friends let it happen: []

      Yes, Republicans like free markets, as long as its free for *Republican* investors to pillage, rape and burn.

      So the next time you wonder why you're still using DSL at 1.5 Mbs, just ask Bush. At least he knows what a checkout scanner in s supermarket looks like. (Or does he?) Or you can go here:

      • So, you link to a CWA-funded site that seeks to keep us locked-in to government-sanctioned monopolies....but, you know, think of the workers!

        I'm perfectly happy with my DSL connection from a CLEC competing with the monopoly phone and cable company. I don't mind the ~14Mbps I get most of the time. If I need more speed than that, I turn off the television that's provided over the same line. In fact, that's just what I did last night, when I had a big ISO to download.
      • by kklein ( 900361 )

        I have a 100Mbit connection (Japan) that runs at about 83Mbit, which is way above average.

        I have noticed absolutely no difference in speed from when I had a 50Mbit ADSL line that actually only ran at 4Mbit. None.

        BitTorrent is still slow as hell. My game ping is still on the highish end.

        I think all this focus on the speed of one's connection is hogwash. ISPs throttle certain traffic, or the server you're connecting to doesn't have that much bandwidth for you, or you're limited by all the other, slow

        • Maybe part of the problem is that you're a foreigner who is after non-local content.

          Stream yourself some NHK or torrent one of those fine Japanese movies about the guys with really long moustaches and watch the bits fly!

          I know that's how it works where I live (the warmer, beachier part of Asia).

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thefoul ( 1113419 )

      Yes, they do. Right now. Who knows what Verizon will be offering when (if) these guys get this network going. Awesome. The US still has better internet access than much of the third world.
      Oh that's reassuring. We're doing better than the third world everybody, cheers! Whatever happened to being a superpower? An economic juggernaut? What a joke we've turned into if the third world starts beating us in internet access.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Verizon offers FiOS "right now" .... in limited markets.

      FiOS isn't available in my neighborhood (I live within spitting distance of the Microsoft Redmond campus) and probably won't be for a decade. Verizon just finished rebuilding its telephone system due to a road widening project. They replaced 40 year old copper with .... more copper. They are not likely to replace it again until if has depreciated.

      And, to shut down the argument that the US is a different market than other countries due to populatio

  • by kg261 ( 990379 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:36AM (#22978674)
    Well it's not clear from the article if it's 224Mbps for all 60 million users. Also, the premises could have 224Mbps locally, but the end to end a fraction of that.
    • Well it's not clear from the article if it's 224Mbps for all 60 million users. Also, the premises could have 224Mbps locally, but the end to end a fraction of that.

      224Mps divided by 60 millions users? Aren't we talking telegraph speeds at that bit rate?

    • by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:39AM (#22978888) Homepage
      Why do they cound 400.000 mosques as 60 million users? If I have 10 people in my appartment do my Internet connection become much cheaper then? To me the price seems to be 1500 times more than what they say for each 224 mbps connection, which are 2370 $. Sure the dollar are falling but it's still expensive as hell, and it's neither of cheapest or fastest there is.

      Just marketing bullshit.

      Who cares if there are 1500 possible mosques visitors in each mosque?
      • Dude, its broadband via power lines, they are not counting the people that visits the mosque, They run some kind of server there that "powers" the rest of the people living around it or something.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aliquis ( 678370 )
          If that's the case when cool, except whenever some religous moron decide that whatever religion they have are wrong their Internet connection will be screwed. Connection reset by Jesus?

          Thanks for the information.
    • by Goody ( 23843 )
      Well it's not clear from the article if it's 224Mbps for all 60 million users. Also, the premises could have 224Mbps locally, but the end to end a fraction of that.

      There's no known BPL Internet access network in the world that is delivering 224 Mbs to end users. The few systems in the US are delivering speeds in the 1 to 8 Mbs range.

    • i sure hope they don't fritz their brains by exposing themselves to that much HARSHLY modulated unshielded RF energy...

  • Bad Idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `'> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:44AM (#22978700)
    Broadband over power lines is an extraordinarily bad idea.

    It might just about work in a country where there is no radio or TV broadcasting or mobile telephony to interfere with, and no panic about the effects of stray RF waves on the human body.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by faedle ( 114018 )
      BPL typically uses frequencies much lower than where most TV broadcasting takes place, and is WAAAAY below the frequencies used by mobile phones.

      As far as RF exposure goes, these are power lines. The power levels that BPL uses are way below the EMP emissions that are coming off the power lines as the result of.. oh, I don't know, maybe the fact that they are carrying alternating current oscillating at 50 or 60 Hertz?

      Now, there is concern amongst users of HF and low-band VHF. Public safety, amateur, mariti
      • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
        The whole point is that you can't modulate a carrier wave with a frequency greater than half the carrier frequency. And power lines are carrying 50Hz. So the most you could modulate onto a power line would be 25Hz. And since you need two full cycles to transmit a single bit, your maximum bit rate using the 50Hz mains as a carrier would be 12.5 bits per second -- or one megabit per day.

        To get more bandwidth, you have to modulate a high-frequency carrier onto the power line first. This gets over the pro
        • note: in this post bandwidth will be used in it's traditional radio sense not it's recent computer industry sense.

          And since you need two full cycles to transmit a single bit
          Maybe if you use a really old fasioned modulation scheme with a single carrier etc.

          According to nyquist you can in theory get two symbols per Hz of bandwidth. In practice you can't get quite this good but techniques like QAM combined with OFDM (as used in digital TV) can get pretty close.

          The number of bits you can get per symbol depends
          • by faedle ( 114018 )
            QAM 1024 gives 50 Mb/s on a 6 Mhz channel. It would only take 35MHz will give you the bandwidth they're talking about.. and that's totally within the range typically used for BPL.
        • by faedle ( 114018 )

          So you use five 6 MHz QAM1024 signals (each one carrying 50 Mb/s) with a center of 6, 12, 18, 24, and 30 MHz. That still keeps you completely contained within HF, which was my point.

          I don't know of anywhere in the world where television and cellular phones live below the VHF boundary.

          On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be trying to work 40 meters anywhere near this hypothetical system.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by O Blimey ( 1268410 )
      BPL (Broadband over Power Lines) can actually be a brilliant idea.

      There are 2 different concepts:
      1) Using high voltage long distance lines
      2) Using household voltage lines and distances

      The first approach has been pretty much abandoned. The second is very much alive and competing fiercely with Wi-Fi.
      There are 2 competing camps, one being HomePlug and the other using chips from a Spanish company, ES2.
      I have conducted trials with HomePlug AV in a marina. The claim is 200Mbps but you won't even get
      • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
        The second idea (using existing mains wiring in a building to support a network) works well in countries where biphase power is delivered from an individual transformer outside each dwelling, because the transformer blocks the high-frequency carrier used by the ethernet-over-power system.

        In countries where triphase power is delivered to each group of three dwellings from a big transformer at the end of the street (so each individual house is on single-phase power) it works reasonably well. The combin
    • anywhere they have buried power lines. Not common at all in the US but many places do it.
  • by Paktu ( 1103861 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:52AM (#22978718)
    Why would you need high speed internet at a mosque of all places? Who goes to a church, synagogue, temple, Scientology brainwashing center, etc. to access the Web?
  • Of course who cares about radio - thats so yesterday.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I've heard Indonesian radio, its probably a blessing
      • The problem is that the interference will not only cause local problems. The frequencies used for BPL include what is commonly called the "HF" spectrum, which has the unique property of WORLDWIDE PROPAGATION via reflection off the ionosphere. Ham radio operators have successfully communicated around the planet on these frequencies using a few watts or even MILLIwatts of power.

        It is quite possible for a BPL system in Indonesia to wipe out HF communications on the other side of the world, given proper ionosph
  • bpl is a hoax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eggled ( 1135799 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:24AM (#22978836)
    Any power engineer worth his salt knows the power lines can be modeled as an RLC network... creating losses. These have been optimized for low frequencies (50-60 Hz). Once you get above 1 kHz, your signal won't propogate more than 500 feet. 1MHz and you're lucky to get 50 feet. BPL doesn't actually use the copper line as a waveguide, but creates a rude radio transmitter in the GHz range, which can cause all kinds of trouble. The reason they're trying this abroad is that it's already been rejected outright in the US.
    • by colfer ( 619105 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @08:08AM (#22979016)
      I live in the deplyment area in Virginia. Here is the U.S. map: [] It is funded partly by the old Rural Electrificatio Agency of the 1930's! Its successor agency actually, in the Ag Dept. The problem of interfering with radio, especially ham readio, was supposedly fixed by "notching of" certain frequencies.

      But... deployment here is three years behind schedule. Customers of two substations have it, but I don't know how well it is working. The company claims some equipment problem.
      Rural users are really looking forward to this, if it works, or any alternative to satellite. The electrical co-op (non-profit utility, like a credit union compared to a bank, established in the 1930's) said the price would be $25/month. Satellite is $40 with terrible contracts and equipment costs. Not to mention gamers cannot live with the 0.7+ second lag.

      There is no alternative in rural areas, where our cell service is marginal. Dialup with images off has been fun! More important than images off is selectively blocking Flash.

      Deployment: [] But see the next section, "Concluded Deployments" with a long list of place where BPL has been dismantled.

      As for the tech. aspects, note you can run internet over a fence wire. :) I'll try to find the link.
      • by colfer ( 619105 )
        Internet over barbed wire: []

        Correction, the price here for BPL is $30/month.
      • There is no alternative in rural areas, where our cell service is marginal.

        There's a perfectly good alternative: run fiber. I'm sure you already have phone lines - decent network infrastructure is the 21st century version of that. And no, it's not "impossible" or "too expensive" - it's "doing it right". Being in a rural area with a electricity co-op should just make this easier. It makes no sense to screw around with crap technologies like BPL.

    • BPL was available right here in Cincinnati for years, though it looks like you can't get it anymore. Everyone I knew that had it loved it. There were no complaints of interference. The only reason it died off, as far as I can tell, is that it just wasn't profitable when it needed to compete with DSL and cable. It was only 1mbps, symmetric, though, so I am surprised they expect to be able to pump so much bandwidth through this one.
  • Is less than 200 mbit. Separation of religion and state is probably worth even less.

    Great to know.
  • by lancejjj ( 924211 ) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:56AM (#22978968) Homepage

    60 million very unique network users
    I can make the argument that a particular network design is "very" unique, suggesting that the design has "many distinctive attributes". Many grammar weenies would vehemently disagree with me.

    But I have a tough time understanding that there could be 60 million "very" unique network users. I'd suppose that they'd just be unique.
    • Many grammar weenies would vehemently disagree with me.

      Not with your argument, but we would have trouble making sense of why you think being redundant has any value, and then overlook the possibility that the intended rhetorical effect may be the opposite of what you hoped.

      Put simply, if something is "unique", then say so. If you're looking to describe other qualities, reach for a thesaurus. There's no need to dumb down the language for everyone when there's lots of good words [] you can use.

      Grammar Weenie
    • ITYM "semantics weenies". HTH, HAND -- Semantics Weenie 71462
  • The 10 Gb Ethernet standard has been out there for several years now. IEEE-USA has had a position statement for at least two or three years advocating implementation of gigabit speed, bidirectional, broadband technology in the US. Other countries are implementing this technology for reasons of competitiveness and because it is feasible with current technology. Note that the communications chips in newer PC's are gigabit capable.

    We need to do this to avoid becoming a third world telecommunications country
  • The great thing about Amateur Radio is that it allows people to connect in far-flung places. In an area as large as the Malay Archipelago, I have to believe that good, clear radio contact would take precedence over a technology that has been tried and abandoned in several different areas. No one thinks about the HAM radio guys, until a disaster strikes. Then they are the first ones on the air, delivering status reports and relaying information about what is needed where. []
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jimrob ( 1092327 )

      I, as well as many others I'm sure, have submitted numerous news stories to /. about the flagrant bias toward BPL and the facts being covered up by the FCC. Oddly, none ever get posted. Mod me troll, I don't care; I think it's obvious what side of the issue the /. mods are on. []

  • by Detritus ( 11846 )
    If they use HF and low-VHF frequencies, it isn't just an issue for Indonesia. They could cause interference all over the world. I wish someone would put a stake in the heart of BPL and chop off its head. A power line is a very large antenna, not a properly shielded transmission line. Mumbo-jumbo about new technology is not going to repeal the laws of electromagnetic theory.
  • I find it hard to believe these guys can violate the laws of Physics, and in a big way. Power lines and power transformers are optimized for passing 50 to 60 Hz. Not 50 to 60 MegaHertz! Your typical wire in the air is going to lose about 99.9% of a 50MHz signal every city block, plus it will pick up tons of noise. I'd be surprised if they can emulate a single 10mbps twisted pair.
    • They're coupling ODFM RF in the HF band onto those unshielded wires overhead. BPL is one of the worst broadband abortions known to man. It serves NOTHING more than to boot a nations broadband deployment statistics with the most "cardboard, duct tape and bailing wire" method imaginable.
  • Is anyone aware of a shielded power line (coax, twisted pair or other) that would work also as a RF(or higher) transmission line? In the US almost without exception house wiring is either 10, 12 or 16 gauge parallel solid coper cable. Ideally it would seem that a single power/wave-guide line would allow for pretty much unlimited adaptability in refitting, oh say your toaster oven to a recipe management terminal, or whatever.
  • Yeah, the right way to serve Indonesia's public is to offer free subsidies to people who go to church more.

    What about linking up the schools instead?
  • Using the numbers from the summary (because RTFA would be too much work), FiOS appears to come out cheaper per user, though possibly with a bandwidth hit. From the article, the cost is $1.58/mo per user for 60 million users spread across 400,000 mosques.

    60,000,000*1.58/400,000=$237/mo per mosque

    FiOS is $42.99/mo per site (mosques in this case).

    237/42.99=5.51 times more expensive than FiOS, though they supposedly get (224/30=) 7.46 times the bandwidth based on download speeds. However, according to t

  • 5 Malaysian Ringgit per user per month (as you rightly say = US$1.58) may not sound like much to us, but is equivalent Rp14,500 (Indonesian Rupiah) per user per month - quite significant when the average household income is only Rp84,000/month for those who are actually in regular employment.

    And most mosques in Indonesia are spread amongst the poorest communities, where the average household income will be much lower and contributions to their local mosque lower still.

    That US$1.58 becomes quite a significan
    • the average household income is only Rp84,000/month
      You are claiming the average monthly household income in Indonesia is US$9/month? Have you been to Indonesia? I think you're off by a factor of 5 if not more.
  • "...a cost of only around RM5 ($1.58) per user per month. That's the cheapest, fastest internet connection in the world."

    And it still costs a month's wages in DurkaDurkaStan.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson