The most natural road to a third pipe for broadband is via electric the power utilities. While putting broadband traffic on existing power lines has proven to be unworkable, the utilities still have the most important asset necessary to building a broadband network: right of ways. Thanks to an endless collection of regulatory government entities, gaining the rights to physical space to run cables has evolved into a nightmare for upstarts. No such problem for power providers who have unrivaled access thanks to the existing grid infrastructure.
At today’s prices the margins on broadband service are exponentially higher than from power transmission and generation. At some point, power providers will find that profit potential impossible to ignore. With new smart grid networks being built, the cost of laying and lighting up additional fibers is negligible. At least one utility has decided to leverage its smart grid investment. Chattanooga, TN will soon have a third option with up to a 1GBPS pipe from the local electric provider.