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2005 News Releases




Silicon Chip slams BPL

Date : 07 / 11 / 2005
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC (Amateur Radio Victoria)

Australia's electronics magazine Silicon Chip describes broadband over powerlines (BPL) as a flawed technology flying in the face of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) regulations.

The cover story "BPL is coming here �" in its November edition has a good look at the spectrum-polluting broadband enabling technology delivered along mains power lines.

The article by staff technical writer, Ross Tester said that the promise of delivering fast broadband without significantly new (and costly) infrastructure, BPL has been a pipedream for years.However, the wires to carry the broadband signals are stretched in the air and make "magnificent antennas radiating interference" right across the spectrum.

The article said, "Whether by fiendishly clever design or simply dumb good luck (we'll leave you to make up your mind which) BPL has avoided heavy-use areas of the spectrum where there could be huge public upcry." The magazine's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Leo Simpson in an editorial said, "Just imagine every street in every major city and town in Australia blanketed with BPL signals ranging from just above the AM broadcast band to just below the FM band. "This will play merry hell with all radio (and TV) services in that range. In fact, it would mean the end of any useful radio services in that range." Mr Simpson posed the question, "So why have trials been authorised, both here and overseas?"

His conclusion is that the relevant energy authorities have lobbied very hard to be able to use their grids for something else besides just carrying electricity. "Even so, it is incredible that the trials have even started, let along be permitted in the first place. It makes a huge mockery of all of the EMC compliance regulations that all electronic equipment must now meet," he said. "Why have EMC compliance when the power authorities will be able to blast interference out to everyone, completely unfettered by past regulations? It just beggars the imagination."

Mr Simpson concluded: "BPL in its present form is a very bad idea. It might at first appeal to the non-technical populace but when the true ramifications take hold, there will be hell to pay.


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