Ameren Energy Communications and River City Internet Group have partnered with Telkonet, Inc., of Germantown, Maryland, to provide a unique in-building broadband over internal electrical wiring platform to commercial and multi-dwelling unit facilities (MDUs) in Ameren's Missouri and Illinois utilities' service areas. Telkonet is a power line communications equipment manufacturer and provides power line carrier (PLC) networking solutions using existing electrical wiring.

In-building BPL enables commercial and MDU property owners to leverage their buildings' existing internal electrical wiring to deliver high-speed broadband Internet access to every electrical outlet, which becomes a broadband access port by simply plugging in a BPL modem. In-building BPL offers broadband speeds of six megabits per second (Mbps), significantly faster than cable or phone lines.

In addition to traditional high-speed Internet access, the in-building BPL platform provided by RCIG's Electric Internet division will have the potential to deliver the following:

  • Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
  • Real time energy monitoring to improve energy efficiency and reliability.
  • In-building security and surveillance systems.
  • In-building communications through wired LCD panels in lobbies and elevators.
  • Building system controls for centralized heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Digital signage.
  • Secured network connections suitable for government travel standards.
  • Additional wireless "hot spots."

River City Internet Group will provide the Internet service provider services for the platform, including Internet backhaul service, business management software, account setup, network implementation, monitoring and maintenance, 24/7 technical support and customer care, hosting and e-mail services.

Installation of the in-building BPL system can be completed in as little as a few hours or within a few days depending on the size and configuration of the building. The ease of installation prevents the typical time delays and disruption generally associated with running more expensive cable throughout the building.

Robert Crabb, vice president of sales and marketing for Telkonet, stated; "We have been working with Ameren for almost a year to validate the successful benefits of utilizing the Telkonet BPL technology in the MDU environment. Ameren's customers rely upon the power they deliver to meet their basic daily needs. With Telkonet, Ameren's customers can rely upon the same wires to deliver the power of information."

Ameren Energy Communications and RCIG, usng Telkonet equipment, last fall conducted a successful trial of an in-building BPL platform at McGowan Brothers Development's Grace Lofts on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis. Residential and commercial tenants of Grace Lofts were the first to use BPL for Internet access, Voice-over-IP services, wireless "hot spots," etc., in the St. Louis area.