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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003


Power line broadband update

News and links from the world of BPL (broadband over power line) technology from the last 10 days:

BPL vendor Ambient was awarded a new patent and raised $4.6 million in new financing.

The U.S. organization of amateur radio operators, the ARRL, is strongly opposed to power line broadband because of the potential major loss of spectrum BPL deployments could cause for amateur radio. The ARRL sponsored ameeting to discuss BPL at the offices of the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) of other potentially affected spectrum users; attendees included representatives from the shortwave broadcasting, public safety, aeronautical and scientific communities as well as observers from the military and the consumer electronics industry. The ARRL also announced it may hire an outside independent testing service to measure and certify BPL interference on amateur radio frequencies.

FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy partially backtracked on the laudatory comments she made about BPL technology at the annual meeting of the United Power Line Council earlier this fall.

The Tampa Tribune carried a long feature on Largo-based Data Ventures Inc. (DVI). DVI is partnering with Amperion to offer power line broadband service, first for a small project in Penn Yan, New York and later for other power utilities around the U.S. DVI's plan is to invest its' own money to design and install BPL systems in partnership with power companies, then operate the systems on an ongoing basis as an ISP.

Spanish power utility giant ENDESA announced that it is teaming with Spanish telecommunications company Auna Group to offer power line broadband to customers in Zaragoza, Spain. ENDESA also owns 65% of Chilean utility Enersis, which, as previously noted, is currently conducting a BPL trial in an area of Santiago, Chile with Ambient Corporation's equipment.

Spain's 3 main power utilities, ENDESA, Iberdrola and Union Fenosa, are moving rapidly deploy powerline broadband to meet a Spanish government mandate that they offer broadband to 40% of their customers by October, 2005. has an excellent overview of the Spanish BPL market -- perhaps the most advanced in the world. Iberdrola's web site also carries a press release describing its' PLC deployments.


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