TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Electric Powerlines to be Used For Broadband

Re: Electric Powerlines to be Used For Broadband
7 Oct 2005 13:06:19 -0700

John Stahl wrote:

> while the US power system has something like 4 or so end-users
> connected to the (last link) power transformer.

My old city rowhouse neighborhood (built 1948, gas heat, hot water,
cooking, clothes dryer) had about 70 houses off of one transformer.
My present complex (built 1970 and all electric) has one transformer
per building serving 14 units.

In the 1948 neighborhood, many homes were rewired from 60 amp to 100
amp service in the 1960s and 1970s. Around 1980 the electric company
strung new cables.

I wonder how much the power company had to add to their neighborhood
distribution system to accomodate increased needs. In 1948 home air
conditoners were rare, by the 1970s almost every house had at least
one large window unit (required 220 service). (My family had an early
RCA window air conditioner from about 1950 that lasted for 30 years.
When it was running we couldn't use other appliances without blowing a

Likewise, I wonder how much extra capacity was needed for telephone
service. I believe everyone in the neighborhood had a phone in 1948,
but many had party lines. Into the 1970s party lines were gone and
some families had two lines. Into the 1990s multiple lines would be
common for computer/home fax/home business use.

(I would love to find any planning documents for the neighborhood.
Land was reserved for schools. Streets were usually continuation of
the existing grid, but individual blocks were built by many different
developers, large and small. I believe the city and private utilities
were ready in advance. The new schools built with the neighborhood
did suffer from overcrowding from the baby boom. Today the school
population is a lot lower than my day.

The power cables were mounted on the back wall of the wall houses near
the second story. The telephone cable pipe (also redone around 1980
from lead to heavy rubber) was around the first floor. Around 1990
cable TV came and was hung still lower.

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