Nortel Digital Power Line Joint Venture

The story is picking up speed. (See UFTO Note March 6 for the last installment.) Nortel and United Utilities have formed a joint venture to pursue the Digital PowerLine Technology worldwide. Part of the Nortel group in Atlanta will form the nucleus for the joint venture’s North American effort.

As last week’s press release explains, 10 major utilities around the world are already committed to deploy DPL. The situation in North America is less far along, due to the technical issues that need to be resolved, however the forming of the joint venture will certainly accelerate the momentum.

Considerably more technical information is now available on the new website at:

As explained in the March 6 UFTO Note, two unnamed US utilities are already providing system data, as Nortel continues to work on the details on their business case for N. America. Many utilities have contacted Nortel and indicated a readiness to get involved immediately. The company is keeping a list, but will go slow until it feels it has enough information to proceed.

If your utility hasn’t contacted them yet, it might be wise to get on the list, if not pursue it a bit more aggressively.

The contact is: Barbara Warren, Senior Manager, Digital PowerLine Marketing

Here’s the text of the latest press release:

Nortel: Joint Venture Formed to Market Digital PowerLine Technology Worldwide; Initial Agreements Reached — Serving More Than 35 Million Homes

March 26, 1998

LONDON, March 25 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation — Nortel (Northern Telecom) and United Utilities PLC today announced the formation of a joint venture company, NOR.WEB DPL, to develop and market Digital PowerLine solutions on a worldwide basis.

Digital PowerLine, which was developed jointly by Nortel and Norweb Communications, part of United Utilities PLC, enables data communications, including Internet traffic, to be transmitted over electrical power distribution networks at speeds of more than one Megabit per second-up to 10 times faster than ISDN, currently the fastest speed generally available.

Nortel and United Utilities will each take a 50 percent stake in the joint venture, which will develop and market Digital PowerLine equipment, software and services. John Beckitt of United Utilities will serve as chairman and Steve Pusey of Nortel has been named chief executive officer.

In conjunction with the formation of the joint venture, NOR.WEB is also announcing that to date, 10 international utilities have signed agreements declaring their commitment in proceeding with initial market deployment of the Digital PowerLine technology.

The potential market for Digital PowerLine through these agreements is more than 35 million homes in seven European and Asian countries.

“We believe that the roll-out of Digital PowerLine will enable the mass deployment of high-speed data access and applications on an unprecedented scale in these markets,” said Steve Pusey, chief executive officer of NOR.WEB. “This first wave of customer agreements demonstrates the scale of global interest in Digital PowerLine.”

“NOR.WEB takes the collaboration between Nortel and Norweb Communications on Digital PowerLine to a new level of commercial activity,” said John Beckitt, chairman of NOR.WEB. “NOR.WEB power utility customers will find that Digital PowerLine provides a low-risk, high-return investment that can be implemented step by step in line with demand.”

A new version of the Digital PowerLine technology (DPL 1000) was launched on March 18, 1998 at the CeBIT ’98 exhibition in Hannover, Germany. Applications over DPL 1000 are planned to support bundled information and energy services. Examples include high-speed Internet access, multimedia, smart applications/remote control, home automation and security, on-line banking/shopping, data back-up, telecommuting, entertainment, and planned IP telephony.

The new Digital PowerLine solution consists of a network interface at the substation, a data unit on the side of the subscriber’s house, and a stand-alone PowerLine communications module. In addition, a complete software and management capability adds functionality and flexibility to the system. The total package provides a competitively positioned access network which integrates seamlessly into today’s WAN networks.

Today, NOR.WEB is announcing agreements with the following seven companies: Norweb Communications of the UK, Vattenfall and Sydkraft of Sweden, RWE and EnBW of Germany, Singapore Power, and EDON of the Netherlands.

NOR.WEB will utilize Nortel, and its associated joint ventures, as one of its primary, worldwide channels-to-market-leveraging Nortel’s extensive capabilities to integrate total network solutions.

Norweb Communications provides an extensive range of advanced voice and data services and has achieved significant success in providing resilient networks for businesses throughout the north west of the UK. The company plans to use power line technology to provide public access networks for residential customers in the region. United Utilities has a combined capability in water and waste water, electricity, gas and telecoms, employing 10,000 people worldwide with revenues of pnds. stlg. 2.4 billion in 1997. This new technology will strengthen its competitiveness as a multi-utility service provider.

Nortel works with customers in more than 150 countries to design, build and integrate their communications products and advanced digital networks. Customers include public and private institutions; Internet service providers; local, long-distance, cellular mobile and PCS communications companies; cable television companies; and utilities.
Nortel had 1997 revenues of $US15.5 billion and has approximately 73,000 employees worldwide.

SOURCE Northern Telecom Limited
/CONTACT: Frank McNally, 703-712-8374 or, or Michelle Murray, 770-708-4434 or, both of Nortel/ /Company News On-Call: or fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 122158/ /Web site: (NTL. NT)

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