FCC Ruling Brings Broadband to the Power Lines
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given the OK for US based utilities to provide broadband over power lines in a move which the FCC hopes will increase the availability of high-speed broadband access and increase competition. This will add electric companies to the list of broadband providers including cable and telephone utilities, hopefully resulting in a broadband price war and increase in competition which could result in the early adoption of cutting edge wireless broadband technologies before they would usually be adapted.
In the ruling yesterday Michael Powell and the FCC said it wanted to “encourage the development of Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) systems” while ensuring that the technology does not interfere with other devices. It added: “By facilitating access to BPL, the commission takes an important step toward increasing the availability of broadband to wider areas of the country because power lines reach virtually every home and community. In areas where consumers already have broadband access, BPL can enhance competition by providing another broadband alternative.”
The FCC rules establishes “excluded frequency bands” where BPL cannot be operated because of perceived interference with aircraft receivers. The FCC ruling also establishes “exclusion zones” in locations close to sensitive operations such as Coast Guard or radio astronomy stations
Computer Weekly reports that Commissioner Michael Copps “criticised other commissioners for not dealing with issues, including 911 service, access for disabled people and whether electricity customers should subsidise BPL roll-outs in these rules. But he also said he supports the roll-out of BPL as a new option for US consumers.”