Yahoo Calls BPL a “Bust”

A Yahoo tech blogger, writing about the recent closing of the Manassas, VA BPL system, notes:

The big problem with BPL is that power lines are unshielded and subject to interference, and pushing data that is highly dependent on accurate delivery was impractical and, in the end, extremely slow and buggy. The FCC and others had hoped a third type of competitor in the broadband business would be good for the industry, but as Techdirt notes, power utilities simply didn’t want to become Internet service providers.

I feel bad for the cities, like Manassas, that were sold a bill of goods in deciding to adopt BPL, but it’s heartening to see a bad technology being scrapped.

BPL Continues to Rear Its Ugly Head

Broadband over power lines, or BPL, hasn’t been in the news much lately, but make no mistake, there are companies out there still pushing it. Case in point is the article, “Is This the Moment for Broadband Over Power Lines?” by David Schneider, a senior editor for IEEE Spectrum.

Schneider writes:

One reason for the renewed interest in BPL is the Obama administration’s pledge to provide greater Internet access to underserved Americans, even those living in rural areas, where other means of providing broadband typically aren’t economical.

Last February’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will provide US $2.5 billion in loans and grants through one agency and $4.7 billion through another to expand broadband connections for residents of rural and underserved areas (as well as for public-safety agencies).

I’ve e-mailed my division director and ARRL HQ about this. I think the ARRL has done a good job of protecting our interests in this matter and hope the ham radio community would continue to support them in this battle. For more information on how BPL affects amateur radio (and other radiocommunication services, for that matter) and what you can do about it, visit the ARRL Web page, “Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) and Amateur Radio.”