Friday, July 22, 2005

BPL comes to Pittsburgh 

Well despite claims to the contrary it looks like Broadband Over Power Lines or the infamous BPL will soon be coming to a neighborhood near you. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review is reporting that Duquesne Light Company plans a pilot project in the eastern suburbs of the city starting August 8th to deliver high speed Internet connections to residential and business customers with a target base of approximately three thousand customers. You can follow this link to their story.

As you know the American Radio Relay League has been battling BPL in a number of test areas in other parts of the country and has successfully shut down some pilot projects that could not meet FCC standards for RF pollution.

If you are an ARRL member I urge you to contact your section manager Rich, N3SRJ,and make sure he is aware of the fact that Pittsburgh is about to become active in the BPL landscape. You can also write to the Tribune Review and let them know that you read the story and that you would like to see a follow up story on the concerns of interference to various radio services in the spectrum.

If BPL gains a foothold in the consumer market and is accepted by the public it won't matter to the general public that it doesn't meet requirements for emission standards. Worse will be if amateur radio operations interfere with Internet connections, something that is bound to happen, and we find ourselves once again behind the eight ball as we did with illegal 27 mHz amplifiers used by the Citizen Band operators in the 1970s.

When the FCC could neither contain nor control of CB operators they simply baned all manufacture of equipment that could be used illegally and in the process cut off all of the long time legitimate makers of amateur radio equipment from supplying off the shelf products for hams that worked on six and ten meters. They even baned equipment made by companies like Motorola for the public safety sector using the VHF Low band frequencies. Thus is the power of the American television watchers with the congress and the FCC. These are things to consider when judging the implementation of BPL. I urge you to make your voices heard now.

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