Ambient, DS2 Form New Pact to Offer High-Speed BPL

Ambient Corp., an equipment maker for the broadband over powerline market (BPL) and DS2, a supplier of silicon chipsets, on Monday disclosed a new agreement geared to allow service providers to deliver such high speed applications as video-on-demand (VOD) and video conferencing over an electric grid.

Under the pact, Ambient will integrate DS2s family of 200Mbps chipsets into its equipment.

Ambient was using DS2s 45mbps chipsets, said Michael OHara, an electronics engineer with DS2. Those chips could support broadband Internet and voice over the Internet, OHara said, but the new products released in March can support applications requiring additional bandwidth such as VOD.

OHara said utilities in Italy and Spain are testing the new technology. Ambient CEO John Joyce said Con Edison — an Ambient investor — also is using the technology in a trial.

Several power companies are offering broadband service over the electric grids on a trial basis, but few entities have announced commercial ventures. When asked, Joyce predicted the markets would take off late this year or in 2005.

He said utilities are waiting for the first company to successfully deploy BPL.

Joyce said investors have started to show interest in the market. In March, Ambient announced raising $3.5 million through the exercise of outstanding warrants. The previous month, the Newton, Mass.-based company disclosed Earthlink Inc. had joined its advisory board and invested $500,000 in the equipment maker.

For two years we were just hand-to-mouth, Joyce said.

Shares of Ambient closed Monday at 30 cents on the OTC Bulletin Board.

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