Even if several high-profile companies have long pulled the plug on a technology that transmits data over power lines at high speeds, the European Union (E.U.) hopes its support of power line communications (PLC) will help overcome technical hurdles and lead to greater competition in the broadband market.

The E.U.’s executive arm, the European Commission, is a key sponsor of the Open PLC European Research Alliance (OPERA), which is part of its “Broadband for All” program, said Michael Koch, a member of the PLC initiative and vice president of strategy and regulation at Powerplus Plus Communications AG, in an interview on Monday. “Our work officially begins today,” he said.

More than 35 European energy companies, telecommunication equipment manufacturers, consultancies and universities are meeting this week in Madrid to hammer out details of the four-year OPERA project, which the Commission is sponsoring to the tune of