Broadband over Power Line (BPL) what a thorn in the side of amateur radio.

BPL is quickly becoming a major thorn for amateur radio operators. The interference that we hams have to listen to makes the hobby of dx’ing less enjoyable. When trying to work DX contacts against any noise level caused by atomospheric conditions is tough enough. Now the utility companies want to increase it by 100 fold by putting a signal on the powerlines to carry internet access to it’s customers.

Here in Lebanon, Indiana a fellow ham was told that amateur radio and BPL has to coexist. He has a constant S9 noise level now. When a BPL data burst goes across the powerline he has a 30 over S9 signal then. So there is no coexistance for the two. For one the amateur radio service is a licensed service, where BPL is a none licensed service. When BPL causes interference it is in violation of Part 15 of the FCC’s rules and regulations. Part 15 is a set of rules and regulations that protect licensed services against interference from other sources whether they be licensed or not. The amateurs need to come together to keep this at bay. Form a BPL group in your area. Watch what the power companies are doing. Write to your congress people to co-sponsor the House Resolution 230 that has been introduced. The FCC needs to rethink the interference guidelines it has set for BPL.

The major attraction for rural folks is that they have been told that they can finally get broadband access to the internet via BPL. The rural area customers are not going to be able to have BPL in their home via powerlines. As the utility companies are finding out. This is a big expense on them to set it up in just the more populated areas. From what I have been told they have to route around the transformers to get the signal down the powerlines. So all in all it sure sounds to me that someone has sold someone a stinky bill of goods.

There are other technologies out there that will allow users of the internet that faster access they desire. Does it cost more? Yes it does. I have recently switched to broadband cable and have found that I am saving money. So the old addage still rings true “If you want to play, you have to pay”.

I still wish the local utilty company in Lebanon would use their money wiser. Invest in a cheaper way to supply us with electricity. Update the powergrid in the area for it’s customers. Instead of wanting to give some of the customers internet access.


Breaking news from Lebanon about the Utility doing away with BPL here