Power Co. to Offer Broadband Data/Phone

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Current Communications Group and Cinergy Broadband announced that they will offer their 1.5 million consumer and business customers in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky high-speed Internet and voice-over-Internet-protocol telephony services.

The companies said it is the first large-scale rollout of broadband services by a power company in the United States.

Current said it has created two joint ventures with Cinergy. The first will handle the Midwest deployments. The second will deploy broadband over power line (BPL) to smaller municipal and co-op-owned power companies serving 24 million customers across the country.

Cinergy is also making an investment in Current, the companies said. Current has raised $70 million from Cinergy and original investors Liberty Associated Partners L.P. and EnerTech Capital.

"We fully anticipate that customers will be attracted to the simplicity of our service," said Ronald Boillat, president of Current Communications Services, the company's broadband subsidiary.

"We don't just bring broadband to the home: We bring broadband to where the customer wants it -- in every room in the home," he added. "You just plug the computer into any outlet and you have an instant, always-on connection to the Internet."

The service has been tested in the Cincinnati area for the past 14 months. Users plug "HomePlug" power-line modems into electrical sockets.