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Hams Trying to Learn How BPL Rules Unfolded

ARRL says FCC turned over documents after FOIA request

The American Radio Relay League is poring over recently-delivered documents from the Federal Communications Commission detailing its ruling allowing broadband over power line, which delivers broadband Internet service over power lines in the frequency range between 1.7 to 80 MHz. Ham operators say BPL use interferes with amateur frequencies.

When I last blogged about this in December, a congressional probe was being conducted into how former Chairman Kevin Martin was running the agency; the BPL issue was used by Democratic lawmakers as an example of how the commission would withhold information from the public until it was too late to comment.

The commission earlier had said the studies were internal communications and it didn’t have to release them. It originally issued information with some text blocked out or redacted.

A federal appeals court disagreed and said the commission had “cherry-picked” the engineering data to support allowing BPL. In April 2008 it ordered the FCC to release the studies. Almost a year later, it hadn’t done so, according to the ARRL, so the ham group filed a Freedom of Information Request. The FCC has turned over the unredacted studies to the ARRL, which is comparing the two sets of documents. It’ll be interesting to see what they find.