[RFI] Broadband over Power Line (BPL) radio interference

Rick Karlquist richard at karlquist.com
Thu Jul 15 13:18:45 EDT 2004

To:  Larry Magid
     Palo Alto Daily News

In your recent glowing report (Palo Alto Daily News, July 15)
about BPL in Menlo Park, you completely
omitted the fact that BPL causes severe radio interference to radio
frequencies up to 80 MHz.  These frequencies are used by amateur radio,
citizen's band (CB) radio, shortwave broadcasting, the CHP, and TV
channels 2 through 5, as well as many other radio users such
as ships and airplanes.  BPL has been tried in other countries such
as Austria and Japan and has been abandoned because of radio interference
problems.  The BPL signals that are supposedly transported on the power
lines actually radiate using the lines as unintentional antennas.
Shortwave radio signals travel very long distances, so the interference
is not confined to the immediate vicinity of the BPL system.

The BPL enthusiasts have tried to duck this issue by alternately
claiming that BPL doesn't cause interference (it most definitely does),
or they have fixes for the interference (yet to be demonstrated), or that
it's OK for them to interfere because shortwave radio is expendable. 
federal law, it is illegal for an unlicensed technology such as
BPL to cause harmful interference to licensed radio services.  Michael
Powell and others at the FCC are in denial about this and refuse
to enforce FCC's regulations that are an inconvenience to Powell's
broadband agenda.

Richard Karlquist
Cupertino, CA

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