Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Sat Jan 24 09:32:07 CST 2004

Extract form the latest ARRL Newsletter:
André N4ICK


In a seeming shift away from "Broadband Nirvana," FCC Commissioner
Kathleen Q. Abernathy <http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/abernathy/> this
week specifically cited Amateur Radio concerns about the interference
potential of Broadband Over Power Line (BPL). In remarks prepared for
delivery at her alma mater, the Catholic University of America's Columbus
School of Law <http://www.law.edu/>, Abernathy said BPL should not be
widely deployed before dealing with ham radio's interference fears.

"I recognize that Amateur Radio licensees have raised concerns about
harmful interference," Abernathy said, "and that is something that will
have to be addressed before any mass market deployment can occur." She
addressed the convocation "The Journey to Convergence: Challenges and
Opportunities" January 22 on the school's Washington, DC campus.

Abernathy said that if engineers can find a way to prevent harmful
interference to other radio services, BPL would represent "a tremendous
advance for consumers, because it could bring broadband to any home that
has electricity."

In her speech, "Overview of the Road to Convergence: New Realities Collide
with Old Rules," Abernathy called BPL "another promising technology" that
electric utilities have already successfully field tested. As an "add-on
service to the existing electrical grid," she said, BPL might be a
cost-effective alternative to provide broadband service to rural and other
"underserved comunities."

Missing from her remarks was any mention of interference worries that the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have expressed to
the FCC in the BPL proceeding.

Abernathy drew fire from the Amateur Radio community last September after
she expressed unabashed enthusiasm for BPL in a talk before the United
Powerline Council's <http://www.uplc.utc.org/> annual conference. In that
talk, she'd suggested that BPL was a step along the pathway to "Broadband

The ARRL led the barrage of strong objections in the wake of Abernathy's
characterization. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, pointed out that
preliminary testing already had established BPL is a significant source of
radio spectrum pollution" and that BPL could not be implemented without
causing harmful interference to radio services. Abernathy's office later
conceded that her "Broadband Nirvana" speech may have failed to make
sufficiently clear her concerns about potential BPL interference.

More than 5100 comments--many from the Amateur Radio community--have been
filed in response to the FCC's BPL NOI and are available for viewing via
the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)

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