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FCC Proposes Part 15 Changes to Ease Broadband Deployment

FCC Proposes Part 15 Changes to Ease Broadband Deployment

Can the U.S. power grid be used to expand deployment of broadband services? And would that deployment cause interference to hams and public safety agencies?
Those questions, which have been bubbling for months, now are officially up for discussion, and the industry is getting a look at how a BPL system might work.
The FCC has proposed changes to certain technical rules that it says will foster broadband deployment using the capabilities of the nation’s power grid.
Chairman Michael Powell said the Part 15 rules would protect existing services, such as public safety and amateur radio, against harmful interference from broadband over power lines, or BPL.
The proposed changes set out procedures to measure the RF energy emitted by equipment used to provide broadband service over power lines. They also set up interference mitigation requirements.
By easing access to BPL, the regulators hope to increase the availability of broadband in rural and underserved areas. Where consumers do have broadband access, the agency says, BPL enhances competition.
These proposed changes also will help utilities manage the power grid, increasing the reliability of the network, the commissioners say.
The FCC wants to require BPL devices to use “adaptive interference mitigation techniques” to prevent harmful interference to existing users. These would ensure BPL devices stop operations, dynamically reduce transmit power and/or avoid operating on specific frequencies.
Also proposed was a database that would include location, operational frequencies and modulation type of BPL devices, to help resolve interference problems.
The agency is asking for comment on RF measurement guidelines for BPL devices and other carrier current systems. These would ensure that emission measurements for these systems are consistent. The FCC has not proposed changes to existing applicable emission limits.