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BPL Set to Power Up in Dallas

Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. will face new competition in the Dallas/Fort Worth market next year from companies selling video, high-speed-Internet access and telephone service via power lines.

TXU Electric Delivery announced an agreement with Current Communications Services LLC Monday to build a broadband-over-power-line (BPL) service that will pass 2 million homes and businesses in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and other Texas communities.

Current’s investors include Google Inc., Hearst Corp. and an affiliate of John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp.

TXU said it will spend $150 million over 10 years to turn its power-distribution network into the “nation’s first broadband-enabled smart grid.”

Current said it will build and operate the BPL network that covers the majority of TXU’s electricity-service area, and it will begin offering high-speed-Internet service over the network sometime in 2006. Customers will be able to access the service through small adapters placed in electricity outlets.

Current said it would also use the BPL network to provide customers with triple-play packages of video, voice and high-speed-Internet access.