Newest road onto the Internet

Milan's municipal electrical utility, AEM, successfully used its electricity network to connect with the Internet. The test is the first of its kind in Italy, but several other European countries have tested the new technology. Citytel, AEM's telecommunications unit, used technology from Canadian telecommunications giant Northern Telecom (Nortel) to send Internet messages through its electricity network to a personal computer. Communicating with the Internet is generally done through a telephone network. Nortel and voice and data services company Norweb Communications, a division of British electricity, gas and telecom provider United Utilities, said that the technology uses a signaling scheme to separate data from electrical interference on the power line, allowing users to connect even if power goes out. According to AEM, accessing the Internet through a user's electricity system rather than the phone system has three advantages: it leaves the phone line free, costs less and is 15 to 20 times faster. It also would eliminate the "last mile" problem of costly installation of high-speed cable to individual homes and businesses.

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