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Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) and the Amateur Radio Service

Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) and the Amateur Radio Service

By: Alaric Hernaez, DW1KWM

Recently a news from a local newspaper, The Inquirer had caught the attention of the Amateur hobbyists. It said that Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) through its subsidiary Pilipino Telephone Corp. (Piltel) will test a Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) project in Malabon City after August 2009 for two or three months.

The BPL project although can potentially provide cheaper high-speed internet to public and a new cash cow for the country’s biggest power retailer will cause havoc in the Amateur Radio Service as it will cause interference in the HF band.

What is Broadband over Power Lines or BPL?

BPL is a system that is being tested and deployed to provide broadband Internet service via powerlines. Radio energy is coupled onto power lines and is distributed into homes. A device in the home (modem) plugs into a normal wall outlet and typically provides an Ethernet connection to a computer or home network.

BPL is also known in some countries as Power Line Telecom (PLT). It can also be referred to as Broadband Powerline Carrier, or just PLC, although the acronym PLC is more applicable to an older technology that is used for telemetry and control in power systems and is not the same thing. BPL is mainly in testing in the United States and a few foreign countries. A few carriers are actually selling the service to customers. BPL is intended as another residential broadband technology similar to DSL and Cable.

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