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DirecTV Strikes Broadband Powerline Deal with Current

As promised this spring, DirecTV closed a wholesale-distribution deal with Current Group that will permit the satellite provider to offer high-speed Internet and voice services over electric power lines, officials said Wednesday. 

DirecTV will partner with Current and use its broadband over powerlines, or BPL, service starting sometime at the end of this year or the start of next year. The deal will give DirecTV another option in terms of offerings customers a triple-play bundle of Voice Over Internet Protocol phone service, video and high-speed data.

Under the terms of the agreement, DirecTV will have access to Current’s BPL network, initially in Dallas- Fort Worth, Texas, in an area that will cover about 1.8 million homes and businesses over the next several years.

DirecTV will be able to market a bundle that includes high-speed Internet and VoIP services to its residential customers. In addition, the agreement gives DirecTV the option of adding other geographic markets as Current builds out its network.

Back in May, DirecTV CEO Chase Carey said at a Reuters media summit that the satellite provider was looking to test BPL technology in a major city this year.

DirecTV customers will be able to access the Internet by plugging a BPL modem into virtually any outlet in their home.   This symmetrical service can send data faster than the typical cable modem service in use today.

“We are pleased to partner with DirecTV to offer them the ability to bundle their world-renowned satellite video services together with BPL high-speed Internet and VoIP services,” Current CEO Tom Casey said in a prepared statement. “Consumers in Dallas will have a compelling new choice for their broadband service and, at the same time, feel good about the fact that the same Internet network is helping to improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid while reducing its environmental impact.”  

Current builds an Internet overlay onto existing electric wires, allowing electric utilities worldwide to deploy and manage a Smart Grid benefiting utilities, consumers and the environment.

“Our agreement with Current gives our customers another high-quality, easy- to-use option to pair broadband services with DirecTV’s video offerings,” Evan Grayer, DirecTV’s vice president of broadband, said in a prepared statement.  “By choosing this bundled option, DirecTV customers will now be able to enjoy fast, reliable and secure high-speed Internet service anywhere they have a power outlet in their homes.”