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Two communications companies have co-developed a system to enable internet access via electricity cabling at speeds up to ten times faster than analog modems. The technology would enable any electrical device to link to the internet straight from a mains socket. This would be a major challenge for telcos and internet service providers if the system is commercially feasible, as internet customers could connect up through the power companies electricity networks. Canadian telecoms equipment manufacturer Northern Telecommunications Ltd has co-developed the technology with UK company Norweb Communications Ltd, a subsidiary of the Utilities holding group United Utilities Plc. The idea is a follow on from Norwebs use of its electric cable network to transfer digital telephone traffic, which it started in a trial of 3000 customers in Manchester in September last year (CI No 2,997). At the time Norweb predicted that data applications were four years off, but plans to announce the technology that has apparently already tested with consumers. The companies refuse to reveal any details till the official launch today.

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