Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Fri Jan 19 23:14:36 CST 2007


US Rep Mike Ross, WD5DVR (D-AR), has introduced a bill in the 110th Congress
calling on the FCC to study the interference potential of broadband over
power line (BPL) technology and report its findings back to Congress. One of
two radio amateurs in the House, Ross submitted the "Emergency Amateur Radio
Interference Protection Act of 2007" (HR 462) on January 12. The bill's
official text became available this week. ARRL President Joel Harrison,
W5ZN, says the League shares Ross's concern about interference to emergency
communication networks.

"We wholly support his effort to ensure that public safety remains a
priority over flawed political agendas regarding communication technology,"
Harrison commented.

The bill calls for the FCC to conduct "a comprehensive BPL service study
leading to improved rules to prevent interference." If the measure is
adopted by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, the FCC
would have to undertake a study of BPL's interference potential within 90
days of enactment and report to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

In 2005, Ross introduced a non-binding House resolution, HRes 230, in the
109th Congress that would have had the FCC conduct "a full and complete
analysis" of radio interference from BPL with an eye toward revising the FCC
rules that govern BPL to minimize the potential of harmful interference. It
was unsuccessful.

Last year, the US House passed a telecommunications bill containing language
that Ross proposed requiring the FCC to study the interference potential of
BPL systems. The study requirement did not make its way into the final
version of the bill, however.

HR 462 would require the Commission to address several technical facets,
including variations in BPL emission field strength with distance from power
lines and a technical justification for using a particular distance
extrapolation factor when making measurements.

The FCC also would have to investigate the degree of notching necessary "to
protect the reliability of mobile radio communications," and provide a
technical justification for permitted BPL radiated emission levels relative
to ambient noise levels. Finally, the study would have to outline options
for new or improved BPL rules aimed at preventing harmful interference to
public safety and other radio communication systems.

Ross's bill zeroes in on some of the same issues the ARRL cited last October
when it asked the US Court of Appeals -- DC Circuit to review certain
aspects of the Part 15 BPL rules. The ARRL specifically has taken issue with
§15.611(c)(1)(iii), which sets a lower standard of protection for licensed
mobile stations in any radio service, including public safety, that may
receive BPL interference.

The League's lawsuit also faults the FCC's decision not to adjust the 40 dB
per decade "extrapolation factor" applied to BPL emission measurements taken
at distances from power lines other than those specified in Part 15. The
ARRL contends that BPL measurements made according to existing BPL rules
underestimate actual field strengths and that an extrapolation factor closer
to 20 dB per decade would be more appropriate.

The League's Petition for Review asserts that the BPL rules "exceed the
Commission's jurisdiction and authority; are contrary to the Communications
Act of 1934; and are arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and
otherwise not in accordance with law."

The Association of Maximum Service Television and the National Association
of Broadcasters are supporting the ARRL lawsuit as interveners.

HR 462 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The
text of the bill is available on the Library of Congress' Thomas Web site

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