Clearinghouse for BPL information

AT LAST!! BPL in the City of Manassas is finally DEAD!!
The City of Manassas to shed BPL for Internet access by June 2010!

Read the full story here



Seems this dead dog called BPL just won't stay dead.
Now IBM thinks it can rule the world of broadband by throwing away money in the loosing pit of on.


     It seems fitting to finally put some closure on the BPL debacle in this forum. While hams can not afford let down their guard, it seems from all indications that, not only in Manassas Virginia, but all around the country, BPL as an HF interference generator is slowly fading from the scene. This is due in no small part to the valiant work hams from all over the country have done. Especially in the Manassas BPL installation, with the demise of BPL provider COMTek and the new owner of the BPL installation clearly stating that no new consumer oriented Internet access will be provided, and that the BPL installation will be used for power and other utility monitoring in the UHF spectrum, it is truly a great day for hams, here and everywhere.
     Hams fought the good and right battle, many going the extra mile to take readings of BPL interference on numerous occasions, to prove to the BPL providers and the FCC (BPL's biggest cheerleader), with sound technical data, that the then-current implementations of BPL clearly went against the word and rule of Part 15 regarding interference to licensed HF users. And when the FCC sought to force the issue, by changing Part 15 to suite BPL and fly in the face of the intent of those rules to protect licensed HF operation, hams won in the courts of the land. The fight is not completely over, not until every HF-based BPL installation is either shut down or BPL equipment put in place with either the appropriate filters to protect against illegal interference transmission to licensed HF users, or modified to operate in the UHF spectrum where the interference isn't as damaging.
     Hams all over the country, where BPL is still a problem, should take note of how the hams in Manassas fought the battle and keep up their will prevail. No one can argue that on the surface the idea of providing wholesale and wide spread Internet access to the masses is a good idea, but the BPL implementation was little thought out from a technical perspective and it was clear from the onset of BPL that no thought what so ever was given to the HF interference that would be generated by these Part 15 unlicensed systems by the hardware manufactures. When hams proved to all the world that this interference clearly existed, and also proved that the BPL equipment was not properly designed to mitigate this illegal interference, they often had to fight against not only the BPL manufactures and providers media campaigns of miscommunication, half truths and out right lies, but also the FCC's blatantly illegal cheerleading support for BPL. The FCCs own internal operating rules clearly state that throwing support behind any particular technology was not allowed, yet cheerlead they did, to the point of having their then-chairman host a BPL media event in Manassas, this even against the legal objections from hams.
     But even with this huge FCC machine behind BPL, it has apparently all but died under it own weight of bad technology. In the face of newer, better technology like WiFI, WiMax, Cellualr and now the push for Fiber To The Home (FTTH, known by FiOS from Verizon), BPL is fading from the scene. It would seem that no utility in its right mind would put the money into rural BPL necessary to make it even relatively viable; it's much more cost effective in the long run to place those infrastructure dollars into installing fiber optics or some other more viable technology. While the initial outlay is substantial, the rewards to the broadband users down the road will be significant...more speed, more reliability, and most important to legal HF users...No Interference! To overuse an appropriate cliché...Hasta La Vista, Baby...Adios to BPL!

HOORAH!! Broadband Over Powerline Future Fading Away!
Article in InformationWeek, May 8, 2008 by W. David Gardner

Courts rule against the FCC in the way they made BPL-friendly rules changes

Hams and the ARRL fight back at the recent decision of the FCC
stating the Manassas BPL system does not cause harmful intereference
by invoking the Freedom of Information Act
ARRL Seeks to Force FCC to Produce Documents on BPL Complaint Dismissals

Manassas Hams Shafted By The FCC, Uphold Interfering BPL System

FCC (Finally) Directs Manassas BPL System to Resolve Amateurs' Interference Complaints.

The Third Battle of Bull Run?
From the ARRL "It Seems to Us . . ." ARRL web. A short history of the fight
against BPL in and around Manassas.

New BPL Complaint Arrives as ARRL Nudges FCC to Answer Earlier Filings.
Yet another Manassas area ham is interferred with by BPL...when will the FCC act?

Factual BPL article in USAToday, finally showing the issues from the ham's side of things.

FCC finally acts to force COMTek and the City of Manassas to check BPL interference.

ARRL listing of recent articles on BPL interference.

Shutdown "Imperative" in Face of Still-Unresolved BPL Interference, ARRL Says
ARRL calls again for Manassas, Virginia BPL system to be shut down

FCC Part 15 Rules covering BPL, for your reference.

ARRL tells FCC to shut down BPL system in Manassas, Virginia
due to it's history of, and continued, interference with licensed radio services.

A national publication that tells the truth about BPL interference;
See the article in "Microwaves & RF" magazine. Click the article on the left
titled "Measuring the Costs of Broadband Service".

Finally someone in the media talks openly about the very huge downside to BPL.
Read Peter Coffee's article in E-Week.

Houston Hams Beware! BPL test to start there soon.

US House Resolution Calls on FCC to Evaluate BPL Interference, Review Rules
Every ham should read this article and then send a letter to your congressman or congresswoman.

New FCC Rules for BPL now in the Federal Register.

Con Ed-Ambient's Briarcliff BPL trial runs into interference from
amateur radio operators, whose association, the ARRL, asks the
FCC (again) to shut it down.

Major ISP tells FCC BPL not a "commercially viable alternative" to cable, DSL

The WIA, Wireless Institute of Australia (equilavent to the ARRL),
releases it's findings on BPL and PLC in Australia in it's December 2004 report.

A dangerous precidence set here as Central Virginia Electric Cooperative
stemrolls through BPL in rural Central Virginia.

This is potentially the worst kind of BPL because it uses repeaters to "regenerate"
the BPL interference, undoubtedly causing more interference than the "localized"
BPL found in the urban areas like Manassas.

FCC requires BPL trial to work with ham radio club in
Cottonwood, Arizona

Audio recordings of BPL interference and streaming videos
of recent media on BPL interference.

Thanks to George, K4GVT for his tireless effort gathering this
information on behalf of hams everywhere.

Outcome of the October 14 FCC/BPL meeting as reported on the
front page of the Manassas Journal Messenger,
by Sari Krieger, Oct 15, 2004 Journal Messenger

FCC's Chairman Powell still attended the meeting even after
ARRL legal council filed a petition for him to recuse himslef,
siting violation of the FCC's own rules on conflicting interests.

Looks like the flood gates are beginning to open; another local utility,
Dominion Virginia Power now considering BPL.

Soon it will be in your backyard too, and we can all share
the interference that the City of Manassas hams hear.

ARRL reports on the outcome of the Oct 14 FCC hearing on BPL

Look out Central Virginia Hams, BPL is being implemented
by the Central Virginia Electrical Co-op.

News Article on FCC Powell's visit to Manassas BPL site.
by Sari Krieger, Oct 13, 2004 Journal Messenger

ARRL Asks FCC Chairman to Recuse Himself from BPL Vote.

The FCC will hold an Open Commission Meeting which has
BPL as agenda item #1 on
Thursday, October 14th at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. Details here.

FCC Chariman Powell to see demo of BPL in Manassas,
Oct 12 2004 at 9:30am...let's hope he sees and hears the truth.

At the recent BPL Conference hosted by the UPLC, statements
from BPL concerns around the country show their disregard for hams.
There are half-truths, mis-statements and potentially totally flase
information throughtout their comments.

Bad news for hams as members of three state public
utilities promised a light regulatory touch on
broadband over power line (BPL).

Here is a link to the new BPL provider in Manassas,
Communications Technologies Inc. (ComTek). Their VP is Walt Adams
and their address is 14151 Newbrook Dr. Suite 400 Chantilly VA.

Apparently they are sending around letters to prespective customers.
You might look for one in the mail if you live in Manassas.

See what other ham clubs are doing about fighting BPL.
Check the Verde Valley Amateur Radio Association in Cottonwood, Arizona.

City of Manassas selects new BPL franchise Communications Technologies Inc
to replace Prospect Street Broadband; will they fail as well?
From the Manassas Journal Messenger, July 1, 2004, by Sari Krieger

Reply comments by OVH member Ben Gelb, KF4KJQ,
to the FCC on the BPL NPRM (as seen on!
An excellent read, very incisive!

Finally a national article discussing the radio interference issues of BPL.

City of Manassas and Prospect Street Broadband part company,
Manassas looking for new franchisee to run it's BPL system.
Story by Sari Krieger from the Journal Messenger, June 2, 2004

Just was told about this "enlightening" BPL info web site
called GOBPL, take a look!

Yet another one-sided report on BPL with an unkind
backhand slap at Amateur radio. When will these reporters
get and present all the facts before publishing?

NTIA Reports Finds Significant BPL Interference
as written in CQ Magazine web page April 30, 2004.

CQ Magazine has some other interesting BPL information
including links to the reply letters sent by CQ editors
to the Wall Street Journal in response to
their unflattering article about Hams recently published.

Another twist on BPL..Anyone for George Orwell?
This also includes information from the recent appearance of
ARRL President Jim Hanie on the Art Bell Coast to Coast
AM radio broadcast of March 20, 2004.

Another example of a one-sided article extolling the virtues of BPL
without even touching on the interference and security issues.
Read this April 5, 2004 Washington Times article.

Report from Bob, K4HJF, about March 23 meeting
between OVH technical committee and City of Manassas
regarding the BPL implementation and the interference issues.

ARRL Recommended BPL Interference Reporting Form, 3 pages
Use this to appropriately report BPL Interference heard
  • Interference Reporting Form and Instructions, Page 1
  • Interference Reporting Form and Instructions, Page 2
  • Interference Reporting Form and Instructions, Page 3

  • Third BPL location discovered in Manassas, this one is an underground electrical feed
    however it doesn't seem to reduce the interference.
  • Map of new underground BPL installations near Battlefield and Hastings
  • NEW! Now a sound byte of BPL interference as recorded by George, KE2AM
  • Play it here  , ,or access the WAV file

  • VWS's Friday March 12 meeting will have Frank Gentges K0BRA of AMRAD to discuss BPL.
    The meeting is at 7:30 at the Vienna Elementary School. Details at

    AMRAD Meeting Thursday, March 11, 7:30 PM, Dolley Madison Library, McLean, VA:
    There will be a presentation on BPL situation particularly in Manassas.
    See the AMRAD web for details

    While this is dated info, of particular interest are the pictures of the BPL
    equipment installation for an underground connection

    Also look at a Manassas City Newsletter "Utility Connection" and the information given about BPL.
    Prospect Street Broadband has a D.B.A. name of ZPLUG. However if you go to
    it just sends you to the Prospect Street web page; strange? Check it out

    Read the complete text of Docket 04-29, the Notice of Proposed Rule Making
    to allow BPL under Part 15.

    Every ham should read this and see for themselves what the FCC's stand is
    on BPL, and in what light Amateurs are viewed by the FCC relating to BPL.
    Read it for yourself and see!

    Now Two Known Installation Locations of BPL in Manassas.
    Map and Pictures of New BPL installation on Signal Hill Road as of 2/29/04
  • Map of Signal Hill Road installation, includes monitoring information
  • Signal Hill Photo 1
  • Signal Hill Photo 2

  • Detailed Map of current (02/26/04) Weir St. Installations of BPL in Manassas

    Photos of BPL installs on Weir St. in Manassas, taken around Feb 15 to 20
    NOTE: These are large images, 1mb, to see detail better
  • Photo 1
  • Photo 2
  • Photo 3
  • Photo 4
  • Photo 5
  • Photo 6

  • ARRL BPL WEB PAGE; lots of good BPL info

    CNET article on BPL places little emphasis on issues of Interference
    but does speak to potential regulatory issues between FCC and local PUCs.

    FCC Okays BPL Proposal; ARRL Officials Express Disappointment

    BPL Article from the International Wireless Communications Expo E-Magazine dated 2/1/04
    discussing aspects of the interference issue of BPL

    Government Computer News has article on FEMA's
    objection to BPL as voiced to the FCC

    The ARRL Letter Vol. 22 No. 42 David Sumner's Response to the City of Manassas on BPL

    The ARRL Letter Vol. 22 No. 44 N.C. Hams vs. Power Company on BPL
    Scroll to the In Brief section

    The ARRL Letter Vol 22 No. 48, ARRL to pay for professional, independent
    engineering study of BPL interference.

    A sample BPL "Letter to Congress" from Mark WA4KFZ, feel free to use as you see fit

    BPL News Article from the Manassas Journal/Messenger by SARI KREIGER, Oct 18, 2003

    Same article in the Potomac News by SARI KREIGER, Oct 18, 2003

    ARRL Response to Manassas, Oct 23, 2003

    Check the "Low Power Amateur Radio Discussion" news group for dialogs
    and comments from ARRL on BPL

    Articles and quotes from the HCDX Group on BPL; good info

    See what the UPLC BPL/PLC has to say for itself.
    Pay special attention to the "View the comments of FCC Chairman POWELL" link which gives
    complete comments from FCC chairman and commissioners on BPL.

    Reply comments of the UPLC to the FCC on the issue of BPL
    Very dry and long, but a lot of insight into the BPL industry's thinking

    Latest BPL article from reporter SARI KREIGER in the Manassas Journal/Messenger, Oct 27 2003

    This is titled "An Open Letter to Congress", from the EHAM web site PBL forum.
    This is a form (complaint?) letter that you might want to send to your congressmen
    (snail mail recommended), or just read it over as it has some good info and facts
    about BPL that is non-technical.
    NOTE: You will want to replace the comment "As an Iowan..." in the letter
    with something more appropriate before copying and sending.

    Please forward any additional links or information you may find regarding BPL to: