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News tagged: BPL


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by Karl Bode 08:54AM Friday Oct 28 2011
After years of hype as the "great broadband hope" (as former FCC boss Mike Powell put it) broadband over power line (BPL) technology exists as essentially a largely dead niche broadband solution, outperformed by even many modern wireless technologies. The technology always suffered from interference concerns, and the utilities the services were targeted at weren't sold on the idea of jumping into a duopoly market against companies like AT&T that enjoy regulatory capture.

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Despite the fact that unshielded powerlines were simply never good conduits for broadband, the FCC desperately wanted BPL to succeed -- largely to help justify broadband industry deregulation of propped up uncompetitive monopoly and duopoly carriers. The FCC was even willing to bend the rules, in 2004 rushing through rules governing the technology at the behest of BPL gear vendors while trying to sweep interference worries under the carpet.

In 2008 the FCC had their wrist slapped by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who ordered the FCC to correct omissions made in their original rules. Several years later, this week finds the FCC releasing their updated rules, but according to analysis by the ham radio group ARRL, the rules still don't really adequately address the groups interference concerns. Changes that were made, like increasing notch depth to mitigate interference, still aren't mandatory:
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“We were prepared to be disappointed, and we were,” commented ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, after reviewing the 76 page Second Report and Order. “The increase in notch depth is a step in the right direction, but the value of the change is greatly diminished by the notches not being mandatory.
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16 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:11AM Thursday Jan 06 2011
After years and years of hype and promise from the broadband over powerline industry that the technology would revolutionize broadband delivery, the technology effectively died last year after consistent problems with interference and implementation. The technology is little more than a niche solution at this point, with most gear vendors turning their attention to smart utility monitoring technology instead. Still, you'll see the occasional trial still pop up now and again -- like in Liverpool -- where 1,000 homes are trialing BPL technology supposedly capable of speeds up to 200 Mbps. That 200 Mbps claim repeated in the piece sounds very nice but is highly unlikely; most BPL gear is capable of only a fraction of that speed by the time it reaches the end consumer. As with most BPL trials, we'd guess this never actually leaves trial phase.

23 comments


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by Karl Bode 05:53PM Tuesday Apr 20 2010
Earlier this month we noted how the first-ever non-trial deployment of broadband over powerline (BPL) technology in Manassas, Virginia was going to shut down -- one of the final nails in the mainstream application coffin for a technology that consistently suffered from interference problems with emergency and ham radio. Not too surprisingly, people eager to still make a living off of the technology insist to Connected Planet that the technology isn't quite fully dead yet.
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15 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:23PM Thursday Nov 19 2009
Manassas, Virginia was the first US city to see a real, non-trial launch of broadband over powerline (BPL) technology. However, BPL has floundered the last few years because of its inherent potential for interference with amateur and emergency radio, its irrelevance in the face of next-generation speeds, and the unavoidable fact that many utilities simply didn't want to be broadband providers.
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24 comments


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by Karl Bode 11:45AM Wednesday May 13 2009
The relationship between the FCC and ham operators has always been a contentious one, due to BPL's interference potential and the FCC's rather, uh, over-enthusiastic promotion of the flawed technology. As part of an effort to pretend their pro-incumbent policies resulted in something more than an uncompetitive duopoly, the agency used to call BPL the "great broadband hope." Hams have always alleged that the agency ignored interference data for the benefit of the BPL industry.
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27 comments


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by Karl Bode 04:43PM Monday Apr 27 2009
Last fall, as it appeared that broadband over powerline (BPL) technology was going to die off completely, IBM announced a new partnership with a small outfit called International Broadband Electric Communications, aimed at exploring the use of BPL in rural markets. The announcement came just as two of BPL's highest profile deployments fizzled, and many BPL hardware vendors begin focusing their attention on smart electrical networks instead of broadband delivery.
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36 comments


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by Karl Bode 06:13PM Thursday Apr 16 2009
Manassas, Virginia was the first US city to see a real, non-trial launch of broadband over powerline (BPL) technology. However, BPL has floundered the last few years because of its inherent potential for interference with amateur and emergency radio, its irrelevance in the face of next-generation speeds, and the unavoidable fact that many utilities simply didn't want to be broadband providers.
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65 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:25AM Thursday Feb 19 2009
Because of interference concerns and other limitations, broadband over powerline (BPL) all but died last year as a serious player in the broadband industry, with only five thousand or so users connected with the technology despite nearly a decade of hype from BPL vendors. Still, IBM recently decided to partner with a small newcomer called International Broadband Electric Communications (IBEC) to explore using BPL in rural markets, and says they could reach 200,000 customers. The $9.6 million partnership involves deploying BPL networks through seven electric cooperatives in Virginia, Michigan, Alabama and Indiana -- with IBEC acting as the ISP. Some of the deployments are thanks to rural grants provided by the Department of Agriculture, so IBM has been making the rounds of late to suggest they should be one of the prime beneficiaries of any new funds.

20 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:48AM Wednesday Nov 12 2008
Just when all signs seemed to have indicated that 2008 was the year broadband over powerline technology was going to die off, the Associated Press says that IBM Iis partnering with a small newcomer called International Broadband Electric Communications to explore using BPL in rural markets. The move comes just as two of BPL's highest profile deployments fizzled, and many BPL hardware vendors begin focusing their attention on smart electrical networks instead of broadband delivery.
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34 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:09AM Friday Oct 24 2008
Earlier this week we lamented the passing of broadband over power line (BPL), after a second high profile deployment of the technology appeared to be on the rocks. Both Techdirt and Ars Technica link to our piece and offer up BPL postmortems of their own. While interference and utilities who didn't want to get into the business played a role in BPL's passing, Ars notes that the rise of next-gen FiOS and U-Verse deployments also played a role. "Let's not mourn BPL's passing too much," says Glenn Fleishman. "It was never even an also-ran technology, because it didn't run much."

21 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:14PM Thursday Oct 16 2008
Manassas, Virginia was the first US city to see a real, non-trial launch of broadband over powerline (BPL) technology. However, BPL has floundered the last few years because of its inherent potential for interference with amateur and emergency radio, its irrelevance in the face of next-generation speeds, and the unavoidable fact that many utilities simply didn't want to be broadband providers.
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69 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:33AM Thursday May 08 2008
I mentioned the other day that broadband over powerlines (BPL) had suffered a serious death blow after a court slapped the FCC's wrist for acting as a cheerleader for the BPL industry -- while ignoring serious problems inherent in the technology. The industry was also hit hard by the sale of a large BPL deployment in Dallas, on which the Associated Press has more.
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15 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:19AM Friday May 02 2008
While the FCC once called broadband over power lines (BPL) the "great broadband hope," the technology has been stuck in neutral, thanks largely to its tendency to interfere with local wireless transmissions, and the fact that many utilities don't want to get into the broadband business. Things have only gotten worse for the struggling sector the last two weeks.
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18 comments


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by KathrynV 11:02AM Saturday Apr 26 2008
The ARRL has spent nearly a year battling the FCC regarding its failure to follow guidelines regarding BPL interference. The U.S.
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63 comments


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by Karl Bode 03:01PM Friday Mar 21 2008
DirecTV and Current Communications have started offering broadband over powerline (BPL) connectivity to some 130,000 homes in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
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95 comments


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by KathrynV 11:21AM Sunday Mar 16 2008
At the end of 2005, the city of Princeton in Illinois began testing out a municipal wireless system based on BPL technology. The rollout has been successful and the city announced that they will be completing the project by the end of this month with rollout to the final quadrant of the city which had not yet been served. One of the biggest concerns at the start of this project was that BPL technology would interfere with local radio signals. However, there have been no reports of interference since the project began. Approximately 100 residential customers have subscribed to the BPL Internet option in the area so far.

150 comments


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by KathrynV 02:58PM Sunday Jan 27 2008
Broadband over power lines hasn’t seen much success in the United States due to the variety of problems associated with it. However, BPL companies are banking on the fact that a new spin on an old story could put them back in the game. Their new angle is to get on the “green” bandwagon and demonstrate how using BPL can manage electricity demand. Rather than pushing for BPL to the home, they’re working to provide cities with smart grid technologies that allow electric utilities to better monitor – and respond to – activity on their grids. BPL Global, Current Communications and Telkonet are three examples of BPL companies that have specifically made the switch to this new focus.

68 comments


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by KathrynV 12:24PM Sunday Dec 09 2007
Tasmanian energy supplier Aurora Energy was boasting about the amazing powers of BPL back in March but rather quietly scrapped the $2 million trial at the end of last month. Much of the opposition to the trial came from the Radio and Electronics Association of Southern Tasmania which details that opposition here.
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87 comments


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by Karl Bode 06:31PM Tuesday Oct 23 2007
Amateur ham operators and the FCC aren't particularly good friends when it comes to broadband over powerline (BPL) technology. The FCC continually insists the niche technology is the next great broadband hope, while hams and engineers note that there's incredible potential for interference with ham and emergency radio.
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73 comments


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by Karl Bode 03:00PM Friday Sep 21 2007
Broadband over powerlines has so far been a dud in the United States. A major reason for that has been the technology's interference potential.
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23 comments


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