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Re: [RFI] BPL news today's WSJ

To: "Eric Rosenberg" <wd3q@starpower.net>, <rfi@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [RFI] BPL news today's WSJ
From: "EDWARDS, EDDIE J" <eedwards@oppd.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 10:10:01 -0600
List-post: <mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
Just curious.
Did the pilot project do any testing with hams?  Did they test near a
home station?

Many BPL pilot projects have involved hams at the start only to ignore
their results later when it didn't come out so good.  That's why I'm
curious about the testing performed.  

I have heard that Current is one of the better ones, but not totally

73, de ed -K0iL

-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Rosenberg

Two weeks ago, the Nemours Hospital ("the Mayo Clinic for Pediatrics") 
and JEA (formerly the Jacksonville Electric Authority, now including 
the water utility in addition to being the electricity provider) made a 
presentation of their BPL implementation at NTIA here in Washington, 
DC.  NTIA funded this small pilot project, which uses BPL as the 
communications technology for the Nemours staff to monitor pediatric 
asthma patients in their home.

The program itself is quite impressive in its scope, simplicity and 
success.  The hospital is to be commended for the work they are 
doing.  See 

Also to be commended is the JEA, who took the right approach in their 
BPL implementation.  The JEA has an extensive and very robust fiber 
network that ties their substations together.  The BPL system uses BPL 
as the home-to-substation link, after which it ties into the fiber 
network for distribution to the hospital.

During the Q&A I asked the JEA program manager a couple of questions: 
how extensively had they researched the BPL vendors; what criteria did 
they used to award the contract; and how they saw saw BPL in the market 

The answers were quite good.  JEA looked long and hard at all the BPL 
vendors and chose Current (the same as those who are going into 
Dallas).  Their basic criteria was to identify a BPL provider who had a 
solid financial standing, a product that worked and worked well, and a 
strong customer support mechanism.  Understanding that the JEA program 
manager is not in the marketing department, the comments on why the JEA 
opted for BPL had a different slant.  The potential revenues for JEA 
from a commercial BPL service are relatively small, considering the 
cheap competition. JEA is interested in BPL for their own system 
management purposes, and found that it is significantly less expensive 
to implement and operate than their present wireless system, which, if 
I remember correctly, is a combination of CDPD and other LMR/Cellular 
systems.  With BPL, they can read meters and manage their systems far 
more easily and efficiently.

What was most impressive is that before they began to look at vendors, 
they went to the amateur radio and public safety community to 
understand the issues of those communities and integrate their issues 
into their criteria for awarding the equipment and system 
contract.  They impressed me as a being a smart business that did not 
like surprises!

What was most interesting to me is that is that the comments regarding 
their outreach were made as part of the presentation, and not as a 
result of questions (there are only three other hams at NTIA, one of 
whom was at this briefing).

In the end, I was impressed.   As I've said, both sides of the project 
are commendable -- medical and technical.   It proved to me that if the 
system operator is responsible and designs their system properly, and 
holds the vendor to a high standard, BPL and amateur radio can 

Eric W3DQ
Washington, DC

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