ARRL welcomes FCC testing of Manassas BPL system
ARRL, the national association for amateur radio operators, has applauded a recent FCC decision to get more information on a complaint that the high-profile broadband-over-power-line (BPL) system in Manassas, Va., is causing harmful interference to a ham-radio operator in the area.
Officials associated with the Manassas BPL system repeatedly have stated that interference complaints have been resolved or denied that the system is creating any unwanted interference, ARRL spokesman Allen Pitts said. Earlier this month, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau called on Manassas and ComTek—operator of the BPL system—to measure interference in the area and submit result to the commission within 30 days, according to ARRL.
“Despite all the denials … that have been going on for many months now, the FCC is saying, ‘There is a problem; let’s get some measurements on this,’” Pitts said. “We think it’s a positive step.”
Pitts said interference in Manassas is particularly frustrating to ham operators because other BPL systems exist that do not interfere with amateur-radio signals. Motorola’s Powerline LV solution has been tested thoroughly by ARRL and “came out looking very, very good.” In addition, Current Communication’s large BPL deployment in Cincinnati has not generated any interference complaints to date, he said.
“It has been proven that, if you’re going to have BPL, … it can be done without polluting the radio spectrum,” Pitts said. “So, why allow a system that is polluting the radio spectrum to continue?”
In both of these cases, the vendors have worked with ARRL in an effort to prevent interference problems, which was not the case when the Manassas system was deployed, Pitts said.
“What we’ve gotten from Manassas is claims that the problems are all fixed and denials that there even is a problem; obviously, denials and false claims don’t fix the problem,” Pitts said. “The emperor has no clothes, and the FCC is saying, ‘Excuse me.’”