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Selected Articles about BPL and Smart Grid


Many articles have appeared in the press about BPL. The articles on this web page are a selected representative of the many articles ARRL believes address the technical aspects of BPL's operation and its impact on radio operators.  Many more such articles are listed in links in the archives that can be accessed by clicking the year on the BPL and Smart Grid Archives page.

ARRL also has a related page that explains how to best communicate information about BPL to local newspapers and TV or radio stations.

Representative Articles

BPL Takes Posthumous Beating with IBEC closure
January 4, 2012 - 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 weren’t sold on the idea of jumping into a duopoly market against companies like AT&T.

You can't kill BPL if its already dead
January 13, 2012 -Broadband over powerline is dead. Again. At least it is in the US, where BPL service provider International Broadband Electric Communications (IBEC) – backed by IBM – announced this week it was shutting down services in the rural markets where it operates, according to FierceTelecom.

Radio Society of Great Britain announces PLT must comply with CISPR22
January 31, 2012 -The latest revision of EN55022:2006+A2:2010 (from October 1, 2011) is the only Harmonised EMC Standard that can be applied specifically to new IT products. It specifies emission level limits that will both protect radio services, and allow other equipment to operate as intended. The EU has confirmed that, absent any approval of the draft EN 50561 PLA standard, PLT devices are now included in the 55022 standard.

Powerline Carrier - Close, but Likely no Cigar
February 6, 2012 - Using a home's wiring as a LAN is tempting, but as we found during a recent testing exercise, likely not a substitute for wireless.  Given the relatively poor results of the distance test, it would be hard to recommend powerline products in demanding applications. I suspect these products, despite a very long gestation period for the underlying technology, will not be going mainstream anytime soon.

Nearly a third of U.S. households have smart meters already
May 17, 2012 - The Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) has updated its smart meter research, revealing that nearly one in three U.S. households have a smart meter already. That's up from one in four households in September of 2011. IEE projects one half of all U.S. households will be equipped with smart meters by 2015.

PLDT, Meralco look to tech expert to breath new life into BPL project
May 30, 2012 - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Manila Electric Company (Meralco) say they are looking for a technical expert to assist in their joint venture project to deploy broadband over power lines (BPL) in the country. In March of this year CommsUpdate reported that after three years of testing to assess the possibility of introducing BPL services, PLDT said it had decided to put the project on the backburner.

ISO/IEC Technical Committee reports BPL interoperability problems
June 28, 2012 - ISO/IEC JTC1, formed in 1987 to deal with information technology interoperability, recently reported coexistence problems between the dominant in-premises BPL formats in the US and Europe. ITU-T SG 15 G.9960 / 9961and IEEE P1901 both use 2 ~ 30 MHz, like ISO/IEC 12139-1 on the power lines. This may cause possible interference to each other when operating nearby.

Second vote on PLT standard prEN50561-1
August 11, 2012 - During the IARU R1 EMC Working Group in Friedrichshafen 2012, the issues about the European PLT standard were discussed in detail. After discussion had taken place, a final vote was taken. With great majority, the decision of the WG was to encourage members societies to form a positive opinion on the draft standard prEN50561-1 among national standardization bodies.

New Draft PLT Standard prEN50561-1
August 14, 2012 - There have been concerns raised about the impact on the short wave bands of the proposed draft PLT standard prEN50561-1. I do not accept that to accept a standard which obviates the Essential Requirements of the EMC Directive (EMCD) by the back door can possibly be in the interests of amateur radio, nor indeed legal.

Powerline Technology (PLT) effects on shortwave reception
August 15, 2012 - This shaky video shows PLT modems (in-premises BPL) causing interference with shortwave reception from about 50' away. Shot by Nidge (G0NIG) in the United Kingdom.

Xcel's SmartGridCity plan fails to connect with Boulder
October 28, 2012 -
The "smart grid" concept was beginning in the utility industry in 2007, and Xcel Energy planned to launch the world's biggest project. Five years later, few of the promises are fulfilled. The communications technology that Xcel chose for the project was broadband over power line, or BPL."BPL is an orphan technology," said Schoechle, who serves on a smart-grid working group of the International Electrotechnical Commission."No one in the U.S. is using it."

Broadband DSL Reports regularly runs articles about BPL. They permit discussion of their articles, and ARRL staff are regular contributors.

Broadband Over Power Line World
This site, no longer in publication, contains a number of news stories and audio interviews with various people in the BPL industry.


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