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  • George
    Hello Everyone, It looks like the BPL issue drags on. I am beginning to wonder who is getting paid off here. Please read on. This was posted by the ARRL...
    Message 1 of 1 , May 26, 2007
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      Hello Everyone, It looks like the BPL issue drags on. I am beginning to wonder who is getting paid off here. Please read on. This was posted by the ARRL...

      George K3ZK

      The ARRL has filed a federal appeals court brief outlining its case and
      requesting oral arguments in its petition for review of the FCC's broadband
      over power line (BPL) rules. The League has petitioned the US Court of
      Appeals for the DC Circuit to review the FCC's October 2004 Report and Order
      (R&O) in ET Docket 04-37 and its 2006 Memorandum Opinion and Order. In its
      brief filed May 17, the ARRL contends, among other things, that the FCC's
      actions in adopting rules to govern unlicensed BPL systems fundamentally
      alter the longstanding rights of radio spectrum licensees, including Amateur
      Radio operators.
      "For the first time ever, the FCC has permitted new unlicensed devices to
      operate in spectrum bands already occupied by licensees, even if the
      unlicensed operations cause harmful interference to the licensees," the
      League said in stating its case. "The orders under review reverse nearly
      seven decades of consistent statutory interpretation and upset the settled
      expectations of licensees without so much as acknowledging the reversal, let
      alone justifying it."
      The ARRL argues that the FCC's approach to adopting rules to govern BPL
      flies in the face of Section 301 of the Communications Act, which requires
      that operators of devices that emit radio frequency energy first obtain an
      FCC license. "For years, the FCC has consistently read Section 301 to apply
      to unintentional radiators, such as BPL devices, and has expressly embodied
      that interpretation in its rules," the League's brief recounts.
      The Commission then compounded its error by asserting that BPL devices do
      not fall within Section 301 at all, the League said. "This hail-Mary attempt
      at justification is another unexplained departure from prior policy that
      independently requires invalidation of the orders," the ARRL remarked in its
      The ARRL contends that the FCC orders under review "jeopardize the license
      rights of ARRL's members and other license holders by authorizing providers
      of a new device -- Access Broadband over Power Lines, or 'BPL' -- to send
      radio signals across the electric grid in the frequencies the license
      holders occupy, but without having to obtain an FCC license."
      The League's brief further asserts that the FCC "has failed to discuss or
      disclose significant information in the record that potentially contradicts
      its key interference findings," and seeks to have the FCC produce the
      information. The ARRL alleges that the Commission not only withheld its
      internal studies until it was too late to comment but has yet to release
      portions of studies that may not support its own conclusions. The FCC has
      claimed that these are "internal communications" that it did not rely upon
      in reaching its decision to adopt the BPL rules.
      "If, as seems more likely, the Commission actually considered and rejected
      the information contained in the redacted portions of its studies, then it
      had a duty to disclose the information and reasons for rejecting it. Either
      way, the FCC acted improperly."
      The League also takes issue with what it argues is the FCC's "arbitrary and
      capricious" adoption of a BPL emission measurement standard that's
      unsupported by the record in the proceeding and ignores contrary evidence.
      Additionally, the ARRL says, the FCC rejected a proposed alternative without
      even considering it.
      Said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, in his "It Seems to Us . . ." editorial
      for July QST: "The Commission's penchant for ignoring contrary evidence is
      illustrated even more vividly with regard to how quickly RF emissions are
      assumed to decay as one moves away from the source. This is important
      because if the signal is assumed to decay more quickly than it really does,
      the interference potential of the emissions will be underestimated."
      As Sumner notes, the FCC has claimed that "many parties" have presented
      experimental data supporting a 40 dB per decade (10 times increase in
      distance) rate. "In fact, there is no such evidence in the record -- and
      empirical evidence supporting a lower number was ignored," he asserts.
      The League maintains that the Commission failed to consider the ARRL's
      sliding-scale alternative that would have avoided what Sumner calls "the
      logically indefensible situation that now exists in the rules: the
      extrapolation factor is 20 dB/decade at 30.001 MHz and 40 dB/decade at
      29.999 MHz."
      In addition, the ARRL wants the court to determine if the FCC was arbitrary
      and capricious in failing to limit BPL providers "to frequencies where
      interference was less likely to occur without materially harming BPL
      deployment." The League argues that the FCC ignored evidence that
      restricting BPL to the 30-50 MHz frequency range would have obviated
      interference to long-distance HF communications without causing problems for
      public safety services.
      The ARRL brief asserts that, for the first time ever, the FCC "has
      authorized the operation of unlicensed devices that it concedes interfere
      with licensed devices" and has declared that such devices "may continue
      operating even where proven to cause interference."
      The FCC, ARRL contends, has concluded that BPL's acknowledged interference
      risks are manageable, but it bases that conclusion -- which ARRL calls "the
      linchpin of the challenged orders" -- on FCC studies the Commission has
      declined to make public in unedited form.
      "It is clear," the ARRL contends in his brief, "that the withheld pages
      contain information" that is at odds with the FCC's conclusion to adopt the
      current rules governing BPL deployments.
      "ARRL is not trying to stop the deployment of BPL," the League's brief
      concludes. ARRL and other commenters have provided the FCC with alternative
      proposals -- ones that have been demonstrated to work in the real world --
      that would have allowed BPL to prosper without harm to licenses or to
      Congress's licensing regime."
      "What is perhaps most unfortunate about the FCC's radical actions in this
      case is that they were entirely unnecessary."
      The FCC's response to the League's brief is due July 2.

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