Plug pulled on digital powerline technology

Nortel Networks and United Utilities have pulled the plug on Nor.Web, a joint venture company aimed at exploiting technology enabling electricity cables to carry data and provide high speed internet access.

The companies said that the digital powerline technology had worked well but that market conditions had changed and they could no longer justify their investment. The decision reflects the surge in interest in ADSL, a competing broadband technology that enables high speed access through existing telephone lines.

Powerline technology had been expected to revolutionise data access in the home. It is capable of delivering data at 1Mbit/s, nearly 20 times faster than existing modems.