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

Hare,Ed, W1RFI w1rfi at arrl.org
Thu Jul 15 20:17:18 EDT 2004

> We should aggressively seek to replicate this scenario; this is an area 
> where the ARRL's anti-BPL efforts have been well-executed and effective, 
> but we need more.

ARRL gets only part of the credit here.  The dedicated and correct work of the local hams in Cedar Rapids was the most important component to this success.  ARRL supported that work, and provided a jump start with the FCC, but as more of these cases develop, the success stories will come from those that are most directly affected.  

There are a few of us working this issue within ARRL, but hundreds of thousands of amateurs out there. Guess which group can get the most done! 

Let me publically extend my congratulations and thanks for the volunteerism that we saw coming out of Cedar Rapids!  Every one of us benefitted from their work and I, for one, appreciate the time they spent to help amateur radio. 

Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Laboratory Manager
225 Main St
Newington, CT 06013
Tel: 860-594-0318
Internet: W1RFI at arrl.org
Web: http://www.arrl.org/tis
Member: ASC C63 EMC Committee
   Chairman: Subcommittee 5, Immunity
   Chairman: Ad hoc BPL Working Group
Member: IEEE SCC-28 RF Safety
Member: Society of Automotive Engineers EMC/EMR Committee
Member: IEEE 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: rfi-bounces at contesting.com [mailto:rfi-bounces at contesting.com]On
> Behalf Of Dave Bernstein
> Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 4:20 PM
> To: richard at karlquist.com; rfi at contesting.com
> Subject: RE: [RFI] Broadband over Power Line (BPL) radio interference
> Yes, like many anti-BPL arguments, most of the same points 
> were mentioned --
> but with different rationale and emphasis.
> If I say "you can't have cheap broadband access because I 
> want to be able to
> chat on the radio with my friends in Australia each evening", then I'm
> arguing that my self-interest is more important than your 
> self-interest. You
> are of course free to disagree, self-interest being entirely 
> subjective. If
> enough of a majority decides they prefer cheap broadband 
> access over hams
> continuing to do their thing, then the hams will lose. 
> Actually, all that's
> required for hams to lose is the belief by politicians and 
> bureaucrats that
> a majority won't strenuously object. 
> If I say "BPL has high risk and low value, and here are the facts that
> substantiate this argument", then I've moved the argument from the
> subjective realm of self-interest to the more objective realm 
> of economics.
> Assuming valid facts and clear logic, this undermines support 
> for BPL from
> both investors and potential subscribers. In the "BPL generates
> interference" arm of this argument, hams are the least 
> important impacted
> population because their hobby activities generate little or 
> no economic or
> political value. We shouldn't claim that BPL's 
> interference-generation can't
> be corrected -- we need only point out that mitigating 
> interference must be
> done on a case-by-case basis, which is very expensive and 
> makes deployment
> extremely unpredictable. 
> The recent situation in Cedar Rapids, where Alliant Power 
> withdrew from the
> BPL business because it was unable to rectify an interference problem,
> perfectly substantiates this position. We should aggressively seek to
> replicate this scenario; this is an area where the ARRL's 
> anti-BPL efforts
> have been well-executed and effective, but we need more. Even 
> better would
> be BPL shutdowns due to interference to public safety 
> services. No doubt
> there are hams working in the communications sections of 
> these services;
> have we identified these hams and asked them to be on the 
> lookout for BPL
> RFI? 
> Power companies have Boards of Directors, and they have 
> investors. Generally
> speaking, none of these folks like throwing money down rat 
> holes. Clearly,
> that's not what they're being told BPL will do; they mostly 
> hear only one
> side of the story. The more we help propagate a clear 
> understanding of the
> poor economics behind BPL, the more likely these Board 
> Members and investors
> are to hear about it and start asking hard questions. You'd 
> be surprised how
> often a magazine article forwarded by one Board Member to 
> several others can
> produce a spirited discussion at the next board meeting.
> This fight will not be won by converting Powell or any other 
> politician or
> bureaucrat; we can't ignore them, or they'll tilt the playing 
> field even
> more to BPL's advantage, but our focus must be on helping 
> WiMAX etc. kill
> BPL in the marketplace, preferably before BPL gets much of an 
> installed
> base. 
>    73,
>        Dave, AA6YQ
> -----Original Message-----
> From: rfi-bounces at contesting.com 
> [mailto:rfi-bounces at contesting.com] On
> Behalf Of Rick Karlquist
> Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 3:20 PM
> To: aa6yq at ambersoft.com
> Cc: rfi at contesting.com
> Subject: RE: [RFI] Broadband over Power Line (BPL) radio interference
> Dave Bernstein said:
> > We'd be unhappy, but none of us would deny the world a 
> cancer cure to 
> > preserve HF amateur radio.
> Lowering the cost vs speed of internet service is hardly in 
> the same league
> with curing cancer.  Remember, anyone can now get dialup for 
> low cost or
> broadband for high cost (see www.agristar.com). BPL at best 
> is more bits for
> less bucks.  There is no demand for more bits for more bucks.
> > 2. it generates electromagnetic interference to a range of critical 
> > public safety and aviation services,
> I mentioned that in my letter.
> > 1. its not "plug and play" -- transformers must be bridged, or 
> > pole-mounted WiFi transceivers must be installed to provide 
> > connectivity to subscribers; the resultant labor costs and 
> > time-to-revenue delays are signficant
> Larry mentions that BPL will use WiFi for the last 100 feet
> and fiber for everthing but the last mile.  It's only the
> "last 5180 feet" where BPL uses power lines.
> Attacking BPL on economic grounds isn't going to work either. 
> The proponents
> have their own money to throw down the rathole.
> >
> >
> > Even more fortunately, there's a better alternative to BPL 
> -- WiMAX. 
> > The
> >
> Powell's case for BPL is that we need more competition.  WiMAX is yet
> another competitor, but Powell's philosophy is the more the 
> merrier. BPL and
> WiMAX are not mutually exclusive, anymore than FTTH, which is 
> mentioned in
> the article.
> Rick N6RK
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