Broadband-over-powerline start-up gets funding

Amperion, a start-up that makes equipment to deliver broadband service over powerlines, this week announced $10 million in new funding.

The Chelmsford, Mass., company says the funds will be used for market expansion and developing the next generation of its hardware and software for medium-voltage power networks that pass near residential and business locations. The company boasts that its technology delivers up to 24M bit/sec of throughput on power lines and in backhaul applications, and supports up to 6M bit/sec throughput to end users via 802.11 connectivity.

Investors in this round include Aspen Ventures, Argo Capital, Global Internet Ventures, Pennsylvania Power and Light, Redleaf Group and Telkonet.

Earlier investors included American Electric Power and Cisco. Amperion Chairman and CEO Philip Hunt worked at Cisco as a senior manager involved with powerline and related technologies before starting Amperion in 2001.

Amperion, which has received about $22.5 million in funding overall, began selling products in the spring of 2003.

The company claims customers such as Progress Energy, Southern Co. and PUC Telecom. It sells to both electric utilities and carriers that exploit powerlines to deliver broadband services.

The company touted an FCC ruling in the fall that gave power utilities the go-ahead to carry data on their electrical wires. Proponents of broadband-over-powerline services say such offerings will enable those not reached by more traditional carriers' broadband offerings to get higher-speed services.

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.