Wednesday, August 2, 2006

FCC Affirms Broadband over Powerline Rules

In response to several industry petitions for reconsideration of current regulations, the FCC affirmed its rules for Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) systems while maintaining safeguards against harmful interference to existing radio services. The BPL rules were established in October of 2004.

Specifically, the FCC:

  • Affirms its rules regarding emission limits for BPL, including its determination that the reduction of emissions to 20 dB below the normal Part 15 emissions limits will constitute adequate interference protection for mobile operations;

  • Denies the request by the amateur radio community to prohibit BPL operations pending further study and to exclude BPL from frequencies used for amateur radio operations;

  • Denies the request by the television industry to exclude BPL from frequencies above 50 MHz;

  • Affirms the July 7, 2006 deadline for requiring certification for any equipment manufactured, imported or installed on BPL systems, with the proviso that uncertified equipment already in inventory can be used for replacing defective units or to supplement equipment on existing systems for one year within areas already in operation;

  • Affirms the requirement that information regarding BPL deployment must be provided in a public database at least 30 days prior to the deployment of that equipment;

  • Adopts changes regarding protection of radio astronomy stations by requiring a new exclusion zone and amending consultation requirements for these stations; and

  • Adopts changes to provide for continuing protection for aeronautical stations that are relocated.

  • Denies the request by the aeronautical industry to exclude BPL operating on low-voltage lines from frequencies reserved for certain aeronautical operations;

  • Denies the request by the gas and petroleum industry to be considered as public safety entities;
http://www.fcc.govIn October 2004, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the FCC have concluded that the interference concerns of licensed radio users can be adequately addressed under the Part 15 model. Specifically, the FCC order:

  • set forth rules imposing new technical requirements on BPL devices, such as the capability to avoid using any specific frequency and to remotely adjust or shut down any unit;

  • established "excluded frequency bands" within which BPL must avoid operating entirely to protect aeronautical and aircraft receivers communications; and established "exclusion zones" in locations close to sensitive operations, such as coast guard or radio astronomy stations, within which BPL must avoid operating on certain frequencies;

  • established consultation requirements with public safety agencies, federal government sensitive stations, and aeronautical stations.

  • established a publicly available Access BPL notification database to facilitate an organized approach to identification and resolution of harmful interference.

  • changed the equipment authorization for Access BPL systems from verification to certification; and

  • improved measurement procedures for all equipment that use RF energy to communicate over power lines.

See also