Broadband Over Power Line Initiative Wins Award for New York City Housing Authority

BPL reduces the cost of upgrading intercom and telecommunications systems by using existing electrical wiring.

by / June 5, 2008

Photo by Benn Kobb: Avi Duvdevani (L) receives the telecommunications award from PTI's Alan Shark

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has been honored for the third consecutive year with a prestigious Public Technology Institute ( Solutions award. PTI's annual competition recognizes local governments that demonstrate how applied technology can improve service delivery, reduce operating costs or increase revenue.

NYCHA was awarded first place in the Telecommunications/IT Large Government category for its broadband over power line (BPL) proof of concept initiative, currently being implemented in Building #5 containing 115 units at Roosevelt Houses. The proof of concept (POC) demonstrates the feasibility of the technology solution under NYCHA's IT governance ePMO process. The initiative is supported by a multi-department project team led by IT Project Manager Anthony Palermo, in partnership with IBM and MST-NuVisions.

BPL can substantially reduce the cost of upgrading failing intercom and obsolete telecommunications systems at NYCHA's developments by using existing electrical wiring systems to carry digital signals that will support an Internet protocol based intercom system. Use of existing electrical wiring eliminates the need for core drilling and minimizes the installation of a separate cable infrastructure to support intercom and other communications services, including CCTV surveillance cameras for building security.

Opportunities to upgrade intercom systems at various locations within NYCHA's portfolio have been scarce due to lack of funds to install fully cabled infrastructures. However, given the potential of BPL technology, NYCHA may be able to consider such future upgrades at less than half the cost.

BPL core components have been deployed and are now operational in the POC location. Installment of improved intercom devices in apartments is under way. During the next four months, system performance will be analyzed to assess the technical and financial feasibility of future larger deployments. The results will be presented to the General Manager's Operations Committee, which will consider the next steps for a broadband over power line in-building network.

In presenting PTI's Solutions award to the NYCHA Board at its May 28 meeting, CIO and Deputy General Manager for IT Avi Duvdevani remarked: "It is rare that an IT project can so directly impact residents' quality of life the way this one does. The project is on track and the BPL supported CCTV surveillance system is now fully operational under Internet protocol." Duvdevani thanked the Board for its continued support of innovative technology, and recognized the project team from the four involved departments "whose support and assistance have been invaluable."