Ham radio operators, broadcasters using TV channels 2-6 and anyone else using the high frequency spectrum and low VHF spectrum will be closely watching the FCC open commission meeting Thursday. The commissioners will be considering a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on changes to the rules on access to Broadband over Power Line systems. RF Report has reported on the interference problem created by Broadband over Power Line (BPL) and one possible solution to it in previous issues.
The American Radio Relay League, representing amateur radio operators, has expressed concerns that "BPL will wreak havoc on the HF amateur bands, since the technology would apply high-frequency RF to parts of the power grid." An article on the ARRL Web site, Broadband Over Power Line on FCC's February 12 Meeting Agenda, quoted FCC Chairman Michael Powell saying the FCC needs to ensure BPL doesn't interfere with licensed radio services and acknowledged "interference concerns that have been dogging BPL and raised by the Amateur Radio community and by at least two federal agencies: the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- now a part of the Department of Homeland Security -- and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which manages spectrum allocated to government users."
Both NTIA and the ARRL have commissioned studies to determine the impact of BPL on HF and low VHF communications, but according to the ARRL news release the results of the NTIA study have not been released and the ARRL study is still underway.
For details on other items on the agenda at the Thursday meeting see the notice FCC to Hold Open Commission Meeting Thursday, February 12, 2004. Meeting audio is available live on the Internet from www.fcc.gov/realaudio.
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