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FCC BPL Changes Set For December

ARRL is likely to appeal, delaying implementation

The FCC’s latest order to revise rules for access broadband over power line (BPL) systems is set to become effective Dec. 21.

The commission’s second BPL Report and Order has been published in the Federal Register. However, Petitions for Reconsideration concerning BPL are also due Dec. 21.

The ham radio association ARRL may ask for a reconsideration. In its newsletter, the ARRL indicates that’s likely.

“While BPL has failed in the marketplace as a medium for delivering broadband connectivity to consumers, the technology is perceived to have some ‘smart grid’ applications,” states ARRL.

“Now is the time to fix the rules, principally by mandatory notching, so that any new entrants will be competing on a level playing field with the existing BPL firms that have recognized the need for notching of the amateur bands.”

As RW has reported, the FCC had proposed a measurement standard modification for determining whether a BPL system is in compliance with the maximum allowable levels of radiated emissions. The ARRL argued there should be mandatory notching of the amateur bands to a level 35 dB below the general emission limit to reduce the likelihood of harmful interference to amateur stations.

In the Second R&O, the commission decided not to adopt mandatory notching. Instead, the agency increased the requirement for BPL systems to be able to notch frequency bands to at least 25 dB, an increase of 5 dB from the prior requirement of 20 dB. The commission also made technical adjustments to its rules for determining the distance between a power line and a measurement antenna and for determining site-specific extrapolation factors.

The ARRL called the increase in notch depth a step in the right direction but said that doesn’t go far enough to protect ham frequencies from BPL interference.

Hams Not Happy With Latest BPL Changes (Oct. 2011)

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