[RFI] Menlo Park BPL demo with Powell

Richard (Rick) Karlquist (N6RK) richard at karlquist.com
Thu Jul 15 11:09:48 EDT 2004

Article from the San Jose Mercury News appended below:

Note comment at end about AT&T developing
technology to avoid QRM.  Perhaps Ed Hare
should contact Mr. Gerszberg at AT&T to
see what this technology could possibly
be (such as notching).

Rick N6RK

Powell supports phone services via power lines

By John Woolfolk

Mercury News

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell joined executives
from PG&E and AT&T in praising the possibilities of delivering phone and
Internet service over ordinary power lines at a demonstration Wednesday in
Menlo Park.

``I think this is critical technology,'' Powell said.

Pacific Gas & Electric and other electric utilities nationwide have been
exploring so-called broadband over power-line technology as a means of
entering the Internet market using their existing network of wires into
homes and businesses. Small-scale trials are under way in Ohio and North

The technology offers a new avenue for delivering voice and data to homes
that would enhance competition with traditional local-phone and cable-TV
companies. Both Powell and California Public Utilities Commissioner Susan
Kennedy said regulators should avoid policies that interfere with bringing
new technologies and choices to consumers.

``The government needs to be not an arbiter, but a partner,'' Powell said.

``From a regulatory perspective, it's very important that we eliminate
barriers to bringing this technology to homes and businesses,'' Kennedy

PG&E President Gordon Smith said the technology could help the utility
improve its electricity service by giving consumers up-to-the-minute
power-cost information so they could cut back on usage when demand and costs
are high. In addition, it could help the utility pinpoint outages without
waiting for customers to call and complain.

``I'm looking forward to this technology becoming a reality,'' Smith said.
``To this day, we do not have a lot of information going to our customers
about the cost of energy. The vast majority of our meters are incredibly
unresponsive to pricing information.''

The technology is still a few years off, said Irwin Gerszberg, AT&T's
director of local network technology.

Among the remaining hurdles is ensuring the security of the communications
and avoiding signal interference with amateur radio operators, Gerszberg
said. AT&T is developing technology that would avoid interference with radio
signals, he said.


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