Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) and Radio Interference

The Federal Communications Commision (FCC) main purpose for its rule making is to prevent interference in the radio spectrum. That is way we have so many rules such as limiting transmitter power in certain cases, no cellphone use at high altitude on aircraft, to limit emiisions on electronic devices, assigned specific frequencies, etc. All of this with the intention of eliminating radio interference between users.

The FCC did something that is amazingly negligent on their part by ruling to allow power companies to send broadband data over unshielded powerlines. It would be better to allow power companies to do this if they use shielding that prevents interference like the shielded cable that TV cable companies are required to use. This also brings up another issue of phone companies using unshielded wire for DSL, which was also allowed by the FCC.

Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell allowed BPL under George W. Bush's administration! Action by the Commission, October 14, 2004 by Report and Order (FCC 04-245). Chairman Powell, Commissioners Abernathy, Martin, and Adelstein with Commissioner Copps dissenting in part and approving in part.

The best thing the power companies should do is to use fiber-optic cables, since it causes no interference, if they want to get into the Internet business. This would give them a big jump ahead in a faster Internet then what is available through powerlines. They could safely run fiber cable with their powerline runs because it is a none conductor of electricity meaning no electrocution problem. The power companies would have the edge in being the first in providing fiber-optic cables from inside homes direct to the Internet backbone.

If the power companies go ahead with broadband over unshieled powerlines then there will be numerous locations where you can not receive AM broadcast stations, shortwave stations, and others due to radio interference.