Ameren Tests Hi-Speed Internet System

The latest computer and internet technology almost always comes out of Silicon Valley, or some other major metro area.  But these days Cape Girardeau is the exclusive test-market for an exciting new concept in internet access -- high-speed internet connections as a service of your electric company.

Most Heartland viewers are familiar with
Ameren as their power company.  it serves roughly a million-and-a-half customers in Eastern Missouri and parts of Illinois, including most areas South of Carbondale.  But Ameren's apparently planning to become a high-speed internet provider.

This is a potentially high-growth high-tech arena.  SBC or Southwestern Bell rolled out it's high-speed DSL service more than a year ago, and Charter Communications followed this year, offering broadband internet cable connections.

Right now, Cape Girardeau is the exclusive test market for the new broadband service.  Ameren is unwilling to make a statement to the media, but they do admit they're testing the service here in about 100 homes.  We know they're partnering with Big River Telephone company, and we know that people testing the service are raving about it.

They've even got a web-site explaining the technology,  features, and plans of the new service.

No one's explained the science to me, but who cares, really, the cool part is, to get on the internet, just plug in your computer to the closest convenient outlet.
From what we've heard, the service consistently delivers 1000kbps speeds -- 20 times faster than a dial-up modem.  It'll cost less than $30 a month, but it probably won't be available for customers until sometime in the Spring or Summer of next year.

Your computer will need a network card, and there is a cigar-box sized converter or modem interface gizmo between your computer and the wall outlet to complete the system.  We'll keep you updated on the progress of this new plan, but this will shake-up the internet provider marketplace if it's successful.