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Cable controversy pits power haves against have-nots

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    batteryalmost three times the batterylife of previous models. An optionalhigh-capacity battery gives 7.2 hours ofuse, which can be extended a further2.5 hours by plugging a second batteryinto the computers peripheral bay.

    The low power consumption canalso do away with the need for fans,allowing notebook makers to designslimmer, lighter notebooks.

    A quandary for manufacturers

    Intels current inelegant wireless LANdesign creates a dilemma for laptop man-ufacturers desirous of both benefitingfrom Centrinos good performance andlow power and offering their customers

    the best available wireless access technol-ogywhich they must obtain fromanother vendor. Intel bars them from dis-playing the Centrino brand name on theirproducts unless they use the completepackage. If they use only the Pentium Mand supporting logic, they must sell underthe Pentium M logo and miss out on thehundreds of millions that Intel is spend-ing on Centrino advertising. So mostmanufacturers are offering laptops basedon Centrino alongside others that useanother vendors wireless access circuitry.

    Why, then, didnt Intel wait until ithad completed its 802.11a+b circuitrybefore launching Centrino? According toIntels High, laptop makers didnt want to

    delay until June to introduce their newlines of Centrino notebooks. Besides, hesays, almost all hotspots use 802.11b.

    As to the three-chip solution, Highdoesnt believe its a problem. We areseeing the smallest and lightest laptopsbuilt around Centrino. So I dont thinkthat manufacturers are suffering in termsof their ability to conserve battery life andto make a smaller, neater, cleaner prod-uct. The real issue is which approachcosts less. Buying the complete Centrinopackage with its three-chip wireless solu-tion could actually be cheaper than buy-ing the processor and logic chips fromIntel and the wireless chips from some-body else, he says. Linda Geppert

    The Cross-Sound Cable [red line]

    will help meet growing energy

    demand on Long Islands South

    Fork [orange area]. Transmission

    lines bringing electricity from

    neighboring areas [blue lines]

    have kept the lights on, but are

    barely sufficient.

    ENERGY Though utilities and inde-pendent power producers have been busi-ly catching up with the United States grow-ing demand, its still very tough to getpower to where its most needed. In fact, theprocess of deregulating and restructuringthe power industry may be hurting morethan its helping, to judge from the storyunfolding on Long Island. This slenderstrip of land stretches eastward from NewYork City, in parallel with the Connecticutcoast, until it reaches its forked, farthestpoints, about 175 km from Manhattan.

    Cable Controversy Pits PowerHaves Against Have-NotsLong Island, N.Y., starves for power in a land of plenty

    A flurry of development in the ritzyHamptons on the islands South Fork haspushed peak demand up by 100 MW or soa year for each of the last few years. So onthe hottest days each summer, LongIsland Power Authority (LIPA, Uniondale,N.Y.) has struggled mightily to preventthe local grid from collapsing. Power linesrunning to Westchester County north ofNew York City, to the citys borough ofQueens, east of Manhattan, and to Con-necticut help LIPA out, but are less andless able to cope with peak demand.

    Meanwhile, efforts on the utilitys partto add capacity have been star-crossed atbest. Its predecessor, Long Island LightingCo., spent billions building the Shorehamnuclear plant near the islands North Forkin the 1970s and 1980s but was neverallowed to operate it because of the likelydifficulty of evacuating the island in theevent of a catastrophic accident.

    In what now seems a sorry repeat of thatsad tale, in May 2002, an electric powercable was placed under Long Island Soundbetween New Haven, Conn., and the site ofthe decommissioned Shoreham facility [seemap, below left]. The builder of the 36-km-long cable was a subsidiary of HydroQuebecs transmission division (Montreal)and UIL Holdings Corp. (New Haven)called Cross-Sound Cable Company LLC.But on 6 January, the Connecticut Depart-

    ment of Environmental Protection(DEP) ruled that the current wasnot to be turned on. The reason, orat any rate the pretext: near theConnecticut shore, 200 meters ofthe cable remains lying on, insteadof 2 meters below, the floor of thesoundthe depth required by stateand federal authorities.

    NorthportShoreham

    New York

    Southampton

    New Haven

    Norwalk

    Levittown

    Stratford

    Yonkers

    CONNECTICUT

    LONG ISLAND

    NEWYORK

    LongIsland Sound

    Area of fast-growing demandProposed transmission lineExisting transmission lines

    Oyster beds

  • B R I E F S

    CISCO KIDS NOT. Yes, the Internet tech-

    nology company based in San Jose, Calif.,

    has chosen Dubai Internet City, in the

    United Arab Emirates, to be home for its

    largest laboratory facility in Europe, the

    Middle East, and Africa combined. The

    mission of the US $2 million Synergy

    Remote Lab, a joint undertaking with

    Synergy Professional Services and the

    e-Hosting Center, will be to train users of

    Cisco equipment and for broader IT needs.

    Individuals, Cisco partners, and educa-

    tional institutes around the world will be

    able to access the lab around the clock

    and get hands-on training and practice.

    CELL AT 30. On 3 April 1973, Martin

    Cooper of Motorola [above] stepped out

    the door in New York City and placed a

    call with a Dyna-Tac handset, the nearly

    1-kg, wholly portable phone that he had

    concocted as head of his companys cel-

    lular R&D effort. The father of the cell-

    phone believes he dialed Joel Engel,

    head of research at AT&T Bell Labs.

    Engel isnt so sure. Anyway, it was the

    worlds first handheld cellular call, and

    maybe the first with bad reception, too.

    INMARSAT EYES IRAQ. The British

    business communications company

    based in London has put a geostation-

    ary satellite on active, full-time duty to

    support the newly established Indian

    Ocean Region West, part of the mobile

    ISDN global area network (GAN).

    Inmarsat expects the satellite, one of

    five in-orbit spares in its group of nine

    geostationary satellites, to be in big

    demand by aid agencies, governments,

    and the media. Until now, four satellites

    provided the networks highdata-rate

    services on a nearly global basis; the

    addition of the fifth to the main fleet

    will ensure nonstop communications

    services to the Middle East.

    John F. Mason & Willie D. Jones

    N E W S A N A L Y S I S

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    Left unburied, the Connecticut DEPsaid, the 330-MW cable could ensnare shipanchors. Theres also concern aboutmarine life, particularly the beds of oystersthat are an important part of the SoundsUS $150-million-per-year fishing indus-try. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,one of the agencies that gave permission torun the cross-sound cable, also wanted thecable buried, arguing that otherwise itmight interfere with future attempts todeepen the shipping lane it crosses.

    The real issues

    Connecticut DEP officials and the engi-neering corps agree that the electric line, asit sits, would not be harmful to the Sound.Still, the DEP has not cleared its activa-tion by Cross-Sound Cable Co . Further, ithas rejected proposals by the company tosink the exposed portion of the cable andasked the Connecticut Siting Council,which also has oversight over the project,to rule against turning the power on.

    Observers say environmental con-cernsat least on the part of state legisla-tors, who had sought a moratorium onenergy projects in the Soundwere a thinveil over the reality. Their rarely spoken rea-son for opposing the project is that the lineprovides little tangible benefit for Con-necticut residents, while aiding the un-checked rise in energy demand on LongIsland. As Connecticut Attorney GeneralRichard Blumenthal put it, We will be vig-ilant against new projects that seek toexploit any transmission facility, siphon-ing power from Connecticut to LongIsland, raising prices for our consumersand harming our economy.

    Long Island need not take umbrage.Even within the state of Connecticut, thesiting of transmission lines has bredinfighting. Southeast Connecticut, likeLong Island, is cut off from the NewEngland grid by an inadequate trans-mission infrastructure. But attempts toapprove siting for an overhead powerline that would remedy that problemhave been fought by Connecticut resi-dents elsewhere. No one, it seems, iswilling to force a next-door neighbor togive up land for a transmission right-of-way if there is no local benefit.

    Even the New York and New Englandindependent system operators (ISOs), setup to manage their respective regional grids

    and ensure that infrastructure meets ener-gy demand, have been helpless to resolvethe cable disputes. When asked why thetwo ISOs couldnt just hammer out amutually advantageous solution, KenKlapp, a spokesman for the New York ISO(Schenectady), said that we have no inputregarding the operation of [the cross-soundcable]. We testify in court or issue reports ifcalled upon, but we have no direct influenceon political decisions.

    With regard to input from ISONewEngland (Holyoke, Mass.), Ellen Foley, aspokesperson for the agency, said that italso did not have the authority to forceadoption of its assessments, though itsstudy determined the line would be goodfor reliability in New England.

    A national malady

    If all had gone accordi