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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB005 (2005)

ARLB005 ARRL Tells FCC to "Reconsider, Rescind and Restudy" BPL 

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 5  ARLB005
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  February 9, 2005
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB005 ARRL Tells FCC to ''Reconsider, Rescind and Restudy'' BPL 

The ARRL has petitioned the FCC to take its broadband over power
line (BPL) Report and Order (R&O) back to the drawing board. In a
Petition for Reconsideration filed February 7, the League called on
the Commission to ''reconsider, rescind and restudy'' its October 14,
2004, adoption of new Part 15 rules spelling out how BPL providers
may deploy the technology on HF and low-VHF frequencies. Asserting
that the R&O fails to adequately take into account the technology's
potential to interfere with Amateur Radio and other licensed
services, the League called the FCC's action to permit BPL ''a gross
policy mistake.'' The R&O, the ARRL said, ''represents a classic case
of prejudgment'' by an FCC that knew better but ignored evidence
already at its disposal.

''It is readily apparent that the Commission long ago made up its
mind that it was going to permit BPL without substantial regulation,
no matter what the effect of this flawed application of old
technology is on licensed radio services,'' the League's petition
declares. The ARRL accuses FCC Commissioner Michael Powell and his
four colleagues of deliberately authorizing ''a spectrum pollution
source'' that's proven to be incompatible with existing licensed uses
of the HF spectrum.

''The Commission wanted nothing to contradict its enthusiasm about
BPL,'' the League said, and its Office of Engineering and Technology
(OET) saw to it that evidence of the ''fundamental incompatibility''
between BPL and incumbent HF radio services ''was suppressed, ignored
or discredited.'' The FCC has not adjudicated a single interference
complaints, the ARRL added, but has swept interference complaints
under the rug.

The ARRL further argued that Powell should have recused himself from
voting on the R&O. The chairman, the ARRL says, violated the FCC's
own ex parte rules by attending a BPL provider's demonstration
October 12, after release of the October 14 agenda. Powell ''tainted
this proceeding'' by taking part in the demonstration, and that alone
is sufficient to have the Commission vacate and reconsider its
action, the ARRL alleged.

The League also said the FCC's ''late and incomplete'' responses to
ARRL's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests fail to show any
support for FCC's conclusions regarding interference to licensed
services from BPL. The highly redacted information release contained
nothing that supports the FCC's conclusions about BPL's interference
potential and suppressed negative recommendations from its own
technical investigators, the petition says. As a result, the League
said, the Commission ''failed to conduct impartial, reasoned

The Commission used an unlawful ''balancing test'' that weighed BPL's
purported benefits against its interference to licensed services,
the League asserts, creating ''a hierarchy of licensed radio
services'' based upon ''how much interference each service deserves.''
The Communications Act, the League's petition points out, requires
an objective determination from the outset that the likelihood of
harmful interference from a proposed unlicensed service is virtually

The interference mitigation rules in the R&O are both ineffective
and inequitably applied, the ARRL's petition further argues. Noting
the new rules do not require BPL systems to shut down in the event
of interference except as ''a last resort,'' the League said the
practical effect is ''that systems will never have to shut down,''
even if the BPL operator has not been able to remedy ongoing harmful
interference to the Amateur Service. The new rules, the petition
charges, accord priority to unlicensed BPL, ''regardless of the
preclusive effect'' or the duration of interference.

In its unanimous BPL decision, the Commission, the League says, has
abandoned its fundamental obligation to avoid interference in
telecommunication systems, instead requiring complainants to
initiate contact with BPL providers and ''beg for resolution.'' The
ARRL petition also faults the Commission's adopted measurement

The League's Petition for Reconsideration in ET Dockets 03-104 and
04-37 is on the ARRL Web site,


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