The FCC has denied another challenge filed by the national association for Amateur Radio, formerly known as the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), to the FCC’s rules for Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) systems. 

Access BPL systems deliver high speed Internet and other broadband services over utility medium-voltage delivery power lines to homes and businesses.  Access BPL devices can also be used to monitor and manage various elements of utility electric power distribution operations for Smart Grid applications. 

In 2004, the FCC adopted rules for Access BPL systems, including technical standards, operating restrictions and measurement guidelines to minimize instances of interference to licensed services and to facilitate resolution of such interference where it might occur.  In 2011, the FCC affirmed its rules for Access BPL systems with certain minor changes. 

The petitioners argued that the FCC’s Access BPL rules failed to acknowledge the substantial interference potential of Access BPL systems to amateur radio communications.  They reiterated their request that the FCC modify the Access BPL rules to adopt mandatory, full-time notching of all amateur radio allocations to depths of at least 25 dB.  The FCC once again rejected the argument that more restrictive technical standards are needed to protect the amateur radio service from interference caused by radiofrequency (RF) emissions from Access BPL systems.  The FCC concluded that its assessment of the interference potential from BPL operations was correct and that it had adopted rules that struck an appropriate balance between the dual objectives of providing for Access BPL technology – which has potential applications for broadband and Smart Grid uses – while protecting incumbent radio services against harmful interference.

The FCC stated that it will consider taking enforcement action against Access BPL operators that fail to provide information to the BPL database in a timely manner, as required by Section 15.615(a) of the FCC’s rules.

Please see a copy of the FCC’s Second Memorandum Opinion and Order  for more information.