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Power Networking United States

FCC's Duplicity On BPL Revealed 97

Posted by kdawson
from the cooking-the-books dept.
eldavojohn writes "Ars has a summary of the curious events surrounding the death of broadband over power lines (BPL). We've discussed BPL's trials and advances here many times. The Federal Communications Commission's go-ahead was halted last year by a federal court, after a suit by the American Radio Relay League over claims of unacceptable radio interference from BPL. The DC Court of Appeals judge noted, 'There is little doubt that the [FCC] deliberately attempted to exclude from the record evidence adverse to its position.' The ARRL's FOIA request to obtain non-redacted documents finally bore fruit under the Obama administrations more open FOIA guidelines. The ARRL's preliminary analysis of the released documents point out a few critical areas where the FCC redacted data that is clearly adverse to the claims of BPL proponents. By rights, this ought to lay BPL to rest once and for all." A story at Broadband Reports notes that BPL is dying on its own, as most of the vendors who had been testing it "have since moved on to promote smart electrical grid functionality."
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FCC's Duplicity On BPL Revealed

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  • SOP for the FCC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:20AM (#27966075)

    The FCC picks winners and losers all the time. Ask the folks who had private mobile radio licenses when the FCC decided that the frequencies could be better utilized - by Nextel. Most of those licenses were for local emergency services, and we all know how well Nextel worked for them when the time came.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:26AM (#27966171) Journal

    *This* is why I don't want the government running businesses (mail, trains, hospitals, schools). The people in power use that power to censor information contrary to their personal beliefs, and they push agendas we are forced to adopt (like the "feel good" philosophy that is failing to teach our kids anything). It's a rigged system, a monopoly, not freedom or liberty.

    The FCC did exactly the same thing with the Whitespace/TV Band devices -

    - they ignored testimony and in-the-field research that demonstrated such devices interfere with television reception. They shoved through the okay on this, and in a few years, over-the-air reception of television (or FM radio) will be near-impossible. Instead people will just see/hear digital hash because the teenager next door is surfing on channel 8 with his Ipod. The FCC has essentially killed free-to-view TV/radio.

    I hate monopolies, whether it's a private monopoly like Comcast or a government one. A free market is preferable in almost-all cases. We need the FCC monopoly over the radio spectrum, but that doesn't mean we need to extend FCC-style corruption to other areas. We need fewer monopolies, not more.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:28AM (#27966213) Homepage

    *This* is why I don't want the government running businesses (mail, trains, hospitals, schools). The people in power use that power to censor information contrary to their personal beliefs, and they push agendas we are forced to adopt (like the "feel good" philosophy that is failing to teach our kids anything). It's a rigged system, a monopoly, not freedom or liberty.

    But that's the problem. The goverment *isn't* running the show, private industry is.

    Imagine what your country would be like if the RIAA were in charge of running the roads.

  • by MrSaxonite (1521355) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:36AM (#27966335)

    The real problem with broadband over powerline is you need alot of bandwidth, at the low frequencys that are called the AM band, and the shortwave band; which would not be so bad, if the cables they used for this were like the one the cable tv company used, but the powerlines are not shielded cables, anything that goes over them leaks energy all over the place, basicly overloading all the cheap electronics with rf recievers in them, yet unlike the cable tv companies, the power companies don't think you want to steal their signals... although I've read of many stealing power when the lines go right over their house or barns, which have huge transformers hidden in em

    it's bugs us ham radio people the most, cause, the way to test if it was causing crazy ass static to overwhlem all the nice signals we used to get from foriegn countries, (which is how we make our free long distance phone calls, be it analog, or digital, wheather talking, typing, or sending pictures) was not to listen to the radio, no, instead it was the signal level at the closest powerlines and the fcc's version of how quick the signal is supposed to drop off.... hence this ugly argument, and the desire to hide the facts as to how it was decided.

  • Good Riddance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brain1 (699194) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:36AM (#27966349)
    It's about time this whole lamebrain flawed "technology" finally was put in the grave. There was a lot more than just Amateur Radio at stake. Military, Shipboard, and Aircraft use the 3-30 MHz band as well an I think they wouldn't have been as nice as the ARRL.
  • by omnichad (1198475) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:37AM (#27966377) Homepage
    Sounds like my old 14.4 modem was broadband.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:44AM (#27966493) Journal
    While I agree that the FCC is riddled with rot, and I'm very much in favor of freedom as a goal, the notion that the free market is more honest seems dubious at best.

    The trouble is, private entities are generally quite responsive to customer requirements. This is their virtue, in most cases; but it can also be a huge vice. Institutional Review Boards, for instance, are supposed to verify that clinical trials are being conducted with adequate safeguards for the welfare of research subjects. The companies that hire them, though, are attempting to buy IRB approval, which is what they want, not ethical oversight, which is what they need. Shockingly enough, "customer service" quickly goes from basic efficiency to telling the customer exactly what they want to hear. Arbitration agents tend to work the same way. Any large company that habitually includes mandatory binding arbitration clauses in its contracts(this almost definitely means your bank, your credit card company, often your telco, quite frequently your car dealership, among others) will be a repeat buyer of arbitration services, probably hundreds or thousands of cases a year. You, on the other hand, might be buying a few instances a lifetime. Wholly unsurprisingly, arbiters overwhelmingly find in favor of their real customers, and ones that don't typically find themselves without work.

    Regulatory capture is a real, and very important, problem; but government corruption is only one of its forms and it crops up, more or less inescapably, anywhere you have a situation where somebody needs to be told something they don't want to hear in order to protect the rights and interests of others. More specifically, it usually crops up when one party has a small, but extremely concentrated, interest in something, and a much larger party has a larger; but highly diffuse countervailing interest in the same thing. It is a hard problem.
  • Re:SOP for the FCC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:53AM (#27966685) Journal

    Yeah but the FCC should pick the winners and losers based on all available data, and then reach a rational conclusion. There's nothing rational about pre-judging who will be the winner, and then refusing to look at data that shows the winner has flaws. That's more like a religion than a proper-operating government. Faith and blind devotion to a cause, not reason.

  • Re:SOP for the FCC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:57AM (#27966739) Journal

    Faith and blind devotion to a cause, not reason.

    In other words, the Democratic and Republican parties?

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