FCC Supports Broadband over Power Lines

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-08-03 Print this article Print

The FCC confirms existing rules protecting BPL services, adds additional protections and signals the go-ahead for widespread deployment.

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission decided Aug. 3 to reaffirm its stance on the deployment of broadband-over-power-line technology. In a Memorandum Opinion and Order adopted by the FCC today, the commissioners affirmed that BPL providers have the right to provide data access using power transmission lines, provided they don't interfere with existing radio services.

By adpting this order, the FCC rejected requests by several groups, including the amateur radio community, the aviation industry and broadcasters, to either limit the service or to disallow it completely. However, the FCC did adopt provisions to protect some aeronautical stations and to protect radio astronomy sites from interference.

In the statements released by the commissioners, it was clear that the FCC sees BPL technology as a critical move in the effort to reduce the grip of the current broadband duopoly in the United States, and as a vital step toward serving areas of the United States that currently have no broadband access at all, including residents of rural and inner city areas.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said all of the commission members would like to see some non-duopoly pipes bring broadband access to hard-to-reach Americans. "This technology holds great promise as a ubiquitous broadband solution that would offer a viable alternative to cable, digital subscriber line, fiber and wireless broadband solutions," Martin said in his prepared statement.

"Moreover, BPL has unique advantages for home networking because consumers can simply plug a device into their existing electrical outlets to achieve broadband connectivity," he said.

Martin was joined in his hopeful comments by other commissioners. Commissioner Michael Copps said that the United States was already behind the game in the adoption of broadband, and he said that BPL might help solve the problem.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: FCC Supports Broadband over Power Lines

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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