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FCC Reopens the BPL Discussion

Prompted by the recent court ruling, it releases more info and takes further comment

The Federal Communications Commission is taking more comment on the issue of broadband over power line technology.

This action was prompted when a previous FCC report and order was sent back by a federal appeals court. Its order had established technical standards; but the National Association for Amateur Radio (ARRL) sued and complained that some of the studies on which the commission based its decisions had not fully been made public.

The court then told the FCC to provide a reasonable opportunity for public comment on its unredacted studies, to make those studies part of the rulemaking record and to better explain its “extrapolation factor” for use in measurement of emissions from Access BPL systems.

The unredacted staff technical studies have been placed into the record, the FCC now says; and the commission laid out an explanation for its decisions about the extrapolation factor. Also it says that it is re-examining the extrapolation factor “in light of the recently issued technical studies addressing the attenuation of BPL emissions with distance and efforts by the IEEE to develop BPL measurement standards.”

The commission will take comment on whether it should amend its BPL rules, but it will continue to apply the current standard for the time being.

The FCC’s latest report includes a good detailed summary of the technical as well as legal aspects of the case to date; you can read it here.

The goal of Access BPL systems is to deliver high-speed Internet and other broadband services over utilities’ power lines; those utility companies also can use the devices to monitor and manage elements of their operations. Proponents hope the systems will help make broadband Internet service available in rural and other underserved areas and introduce more competition to broadband services.