BPL Astroturf Is Wearing Out

from the this-space-for-rent dept

Last February, fresh off its bought-and-paid-for report on the evils of municipal broadband, the New Millenium Research Council “think tank” came out with another report heralding the wonder of broadband over power lines. This came despite a long series of failed trails and a noticeable lack of traction that didn’t come anywhere near the hype built up around the technology. Broadband Reports now notices that one of the NMRC panelists has noticed that BPL’s momentum has stalled. We always thought something had to have momentum for it to stall, but we digress. Another member of the panel is keeping up the hype, but, in true NMRC style, he’s the head of a BPL provider, so he’s not exactly unbiased. Despite the NMRC’s enthusiasm, there’s been little beyond trials and deals focused on applications for electric companies rather than end users, and the long-term prospects for BPL remain very cloudy.

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Comments on “BPL Astroturf Is Wearing Out”

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Hick from the Sticks says:

If BPL actually works...

If BPL actually works, I wish some rural electric providers would pull their heads out and offer it to rural customers that don’t have DSL or Cable and use somewhat unreliable and very expensive line-of-sight or satellite wireless internet (which isn’t always available at any given location). I don’t have any idea how good it is compared to DSL, Cable, Muni-WiFi, or Muni-Fibre, but if it works, it can’t be much worse than 256kb wireless that drops out every time a gust of wind shakes the antenna or a snow storm coats the dish in snow.

Rick Davis says:

BPL may work but the Logistics doesn't

BPL is basically a large version of the home wireless systems avalable now. BPL works, but the logisitics and costs make it so hard to deploy. TXU is commiting to a large scale rollout but there is no way they can say who gets what and when at this stage. Follow the money. Sure its a great thing for rural customers, but if it costs $300 in equipment per drop to make it work, thats just not very sensible. Not with the slow but sure progress of Cable, DSL and Wireless. Give it two more years and the number of folks BPL can serve alone will be insignificant in business terms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: BPL may work but the Logistics doesn't

My parents road just got city water about 3 or 4 years ago. I’m betting Cable, DSL, and wireless are way off in the future. Dial-up out there is not even up to par.
They would probably be interested in footing a one time $300 equipment cost if it meant reliable, somewhat faster internet.
The just have no real viable options and I don’t see any arriving soon.

abtg (user link) says:

Re: Re: BPL is hi-speed, symmetrical speed, no interfe

read: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=48963883&blogID=77849236&MyToken=4c11bbe8-6516-4355-a9f1-4ff38834be04

14 September 2005

DS2’s Radio Friendly BPL Technology puts Competition on the Defensive

Speaking at 2005 UPLC Annual Conference, Victor Dominguez, DS2’s Director of Strategy and Standardization, outlined the reasons why DS2’s 200Mbps powerline solution is the only regulatory compliant technology available for BPL commercial deployments.

Dominguez was dismissive about claimed alternatives to DS2.

Mr Dominguez was adamant about competitors claims “I think that we have put the competition on the defensive. Our competitors would love to have the flexible notching capabilities that we have for BPL and In-Home PLCs, but the truth is that they don?t. DS2 has had dynamic notching since its first chip set and can mitigate radio interference in a programmable way and other PLC chipsets do not. We would like to thank our competition for the rumours propagated at several press interviews, they have been attracting attention towards one of the main competitive advantages of our technology, we mastered programmable notches in a 200 Mbps chipset more than 2 years ago, since then we have been shipping in volume for BPL and In-Home applications, and still remains to be proven that competition can follow us.?

DS2’s technology is well known in the BPL industry for being one of the first proponents of programmable notching in powerline communications, as the best method for addressing potential interference to radio services. DS2?s 200 Mbps BPL technology, available in silicon since 2003, already implements this dynamic notching functionality, which has been tested in the field, in several commercial BPL deployments, and demonstrated in several BPL industry trade shows.

?Other competing technologies have some notches, but they are fixed, including the most advanced designs from followers (on top of that they exhibit performance below 40% our speed). This means that they fall short for the demands of regulators and consumers everywhere from the FCC to the European Commission who require that frequency bands can be selectively notched out, even after the equipment has been deployed. Operators deploying non-DS2 based solutions risk having their equipment withdrawn from the field because once it is out there, there is nothing that can be done to prevent interfence with radio signals. With DS2, however, any issues can be resolved even when the equipment is in the field by remotely disabling problematic frequencies thus complying with today’s or future regulatory requirements and automatically avoiding any radio signals in any part of the world”. Mr Dominguez placed special emphasis on the radio friendliness of the system.

In February this year, DS2’s 200 Mbps powerline technology has been chosen as the baseline technology for the European utilities developing PLC standards to accelerate the adoption of low cost, high performance broadband access PLC. As part of the selection process, an extensive set of tests were performed, including notching functionality benchmarks for avoidance of potential interferences to radio services. In addition, report from Ofcom, the British telecom regulator recognised the significant advance represented ?The flexibility of the DS2 product, with its programmable spectrum mask and downstream notching capability, represents a significant step towards a more EMC friendly PLT solution.?

Specifically, DS2 BPL system can implement notches in any frequency band, not only in radio amateur bands. This means that the system can be adapted to changing regulations in several countries. For example, FCC recently prohibited BPL Operators to use frequencies within defined “excluded bands”. Only products based on DS2 technology can be adapted to this new regulation remotely from the Operator?s Network Operation Centre, while products based on competing chips would need to replace the hardware in the field.

DS2 200 Mbps the technology which underlies the majority of commercial access PLC and IPTV/ADSL deployments worldwide and has been built into equipment manufactured by the leading US, European and Asian BPL manufacturers. It is used by XDSL/IPTV operators like Telefonica and electricity giants such as Consolidated Edison, Duke Energy, EdF, EdP, Iberdrola and Endesa, to drive their broadband over powerline offerings. As of September 2005, the estimated number of consumers and businesses that enjoy access to IPTV, internet and voice-over IP services is estimated at 500,000, with more than two million homes passed in deployments with more than 30 power utilities world-wide.

About DS2

DS2 is the leading supplier of silicon and software for Power line Communications (PLC). DS2’s award winning power line technology delivers data rates in excess of 200 Mbps to support multiple simultaneous video-streams, voice and data applications at low cost. DS2 is driving standardization activity in many international bodies.


About UPLC


About UPA

The Universal Powerline Association (UPA) is an International not-for-profit trade association working to harmonize global standards and regulations in the fast developing powerline communications market


abtg (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: ARRL mails letter critics say is factually wro

ARRL mails letter critics say is factually wrong
ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay last week wrote a letter to FCC officials and others calling for the Manassas, Va, BPL system to shut down after the system operator Communications Technologies (ComTek) ?failed to meet its own commitment to resolve complaints of interference to local radio amateurs…

BPL Today (paid sub required)


Ed Hare (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ARRL mails letter critics say is factually wro

ARRL’s summary of the facts leading up to the ARRL’s letter is outlined at:
A good description of the long history leading up to this latest complaint can be found in the articles at:
The latest report directly from the affected licensed Amateur Radio operators in Manassas is posted at:
A list of the actual complaints from Manassas Amateurs is summarized at:
ARRL’s general information about BPL is listed at:
Ed Hare, W1RFI@arrl.org
Tel: 860-594-0318

guest (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 watch this live demo of working BPL !!!!

Ambient Progresses to Advanced Grid Management Phase in Westchester Pilot
Monday January 30, 9:00 am ET

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 30, 2006–Ambient Corporation (OTCBB: ABTG – News), a leader in Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) technology solutions, announced today, along with Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED – News) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), that they have finalized and signed the contract, previously announced, to provide funding by NYSERDA for enhancing Ambient’s BPL pilot in Westchester County, New York. This enhancement of the Westchester pilot is aligned with the recent announcement by The New York State Public Service Commission (NYS PSC) that it is seeking to establish the framework for potential use of BPL technology by regulated utilities.

This Advanced Grid Management Phase to be undertaken by Consolidated Edison and Ambient with the NYSERDA funding will include added benefits and enhanced monitoring capabilities provided by Ambient’s BPL solution such as indications of general circuit health for improved asset management, information on power quality events on the distribution system, enhanced outage management and response. An example of this kind of indication is the ability to predict failure through noise analysis of grid equipment on a real-time basis.

“NYSERDA’s involvement with this project is driven by the need to help increase the reliability and the efficient management of the utility’s local distribution systems. We believe that the power line communications aspect of BPL can potentially help Consolidated Edison and other utilities to improve power quality, system reliability and customer service,” stated Peter R. Smith, President of NYSERDA.

NYSERDA will be funding up to $200,000 of the project.

Hyman Schoenblum, Vice President of Corporate Planning for Consolidated Edison, stated, “Finding ways to better serve our customers has always been our number one priority. We look forward to continue evaluating how Ambient’s BPL solutions can assist us to do this, and are pleased that we are advancing from the initial pilot phase to the Advanced Grid Management Phase; a critical juncture in this project.”


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 by the New York State Legislature. NYSERDA’s responsibilities, among others, include many phases of R&D efforts and administering the New York Energy $martSM program. Additional information about these programs can be obtained at http://www.nyserda.org or 1-866-NYSERDA.

About Consolidated Edison, Inc.

Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE: ED – News) is one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $25 billion in assets. The company provides a wide range of energy-related products and services to its customers through two regulated utility subsidiaries and four competitive energy and telecommunications businesses. For additional financial, operations and customer service information, visit the Consolidated Edison, Inc. Web site at http://www.coned.com.

About Ambient Corporation

Ambient Corporation, a development stage company, is a pioneer in the Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) industry. Engaged in the design, development and marketing of patented BPL equipment and technologies, Ambient utilizes proprietary technology and in-depth industry experience to provide optimal solutions for the Utility and Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU) markets. Headquartered in Newton, MA, Ambient is a publicly traded company (OTC BB: ABTG – News). Visit Ambient at http://www.ambientcorp.com.

knight says:

Re: BPL is terrible

bpl works and works well, that is simply an indisputable fact. the reason bpl has stalled is the lack of a standard and ieee is currently working on one and that will galvanize things. furthermore, it’s the utility applications that these guys are after….note the energy policy act of 2005’s mandate for smart metering.

N7TRZ says:

Re: BPL is terrible

the ARRL, after filing its position with the FCC, indicating excessive interference with ham communications, has apparently been impressed by a different BPL protocol put forth by (I think) Motorola, indicating it shows real promise and an acceptably low level of interference. It is evidently different enough from those systems fielded so far that ARRL is continuing to explore this new alternative. I’m still awaiting a final verdict, but don’t count BPL as Satan’s curse, or dead, yet. We shall see.

Michael says:

BPL is a problem for many radio services

BPL is a problem for more services than just amateur (HAM) radio. Any services that operate between 4MHz and 30MHz could be affected.

Here, in California, our State Highway Patrol uses this area. Many public utilitys use this range for telemetry with equipment.

Hams are very vocal about being interfered with, we are a volunteer group with little money to lobby officials. Our bands (or frequency ranges) get tampered with on a regular basis and it’s frustrating. BPL may offer something, but think of the cost.

4MHz to 30 MHz is the only range of frequencies that can provide reliable world-wide communications range.

Just my opinions…

Here’s a link with some additional information…http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/01/18/2/?nc=1

guest (user link) says:

in Philippines` BPL: ahead of other countries?

re: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=politics06_jan30_2006

Broadband project may trigger rise of Bataan
The rise of Bataan as a ?fully wired-city? loomed strong following the launching yesterday of the Peninsula Broadband, a joint venture between the Peninsula Electric Cooperative (Penelco) and the Nextream Broadband Philippines, featuring ?broadband over power lines? (BPL) system. The project will connect ordinary folk in the barangays with a wide-range of education, connectivity and information through the use of Internet, telephone, on-demand cable TV right in their homes. This was announced in a joint statement by Penelco general manager Loreto Marcelino, Gen. (ret.) Pedro Dumol as Nextream chairman and Ty Javellana, Nextream chief executive officer.

Infotech power. Gen. (ret) Pedro Dumol, board chairman of Nextream, tries one of the new computers his company donated to the Bataan High School in a bid to empower the countryside with the help of information technology. Witnessing the historic moment are Nextream executives (from right) Ty Javellana, chief executive officer; Ronald Fesalbon, chief technical officer and, Gary Cedeno, chief finance officer. Arman Clemente
The launching event also marked the graduation of 28 individuals who went through a three-week training to become ?BPL? specialists. The Nextream officials likewise led yesterday?s donation of 10 sets of computers with flat screen monitors to the Balanga National High School with Penelco providing free Internet access to 5,637 high school students.

?We were surprised and we never expected that our school will be provided with a high-tech computer system putting the world in the fingertips of our students at no cost to the school and the parents. The provision of flat screen monitors, which are found to be low in radiation, also reflect the total concern of Nextream for the health and safety of our students,? said school principal Dr. Simeona Emata.

It was learned that the Balanga National High School is the first beneficiary public school among the 12 towns and 237 barangays in the whole Bataan province that will be provided by Nextream with 10 computer sets per town and one computer set in every barangay. Dumol, considered as the father of rural electrification after having served as National Electrification Administrator (NEA) from 1970 to 1986, expressed optimism over Nextream?s ?viable and affordable system? that will give information technology access even to the remotest rural areas.

During his stint as NEA chief, he was largely credited for energizing 90 percent of the barangays backed up by the formation of 120 electric cooperatives nationwide. This tie-up with the electric coops will address the great digital divide in our society, Dumol said.

For his part, Javellana, a Filipino-American businessman, said he envisions an empowered Filipinos in the countryside through affordable and effective information technology system. ?Thirty years ago, there were no personal computers and there was no Internet. Addressing this great divide is one of Nextream?s goals since it has BPL which is the right vehicle in providing the imbalance and bridge the gap in the digital divide,? Javellana said in his speech at the Balanga High School. He added that with the new computers the high school students will be more productive and creative, ?wired to the world,? more empowered and informed, as well as connected to the Internet that is four times faster in speed compared to the present system in the market. Javellana said it is vital that we give our educators the best tools available so that they are empowered to develop Filipinos who are well-educated. ?For these next generation of Filipinos, opportunities will not just be limited by their location but by their educational level.?

But Ronald Fesalbon, Nextream chief technical officer, offered a philosophical but realistic assessment saying: In the Philippines, there are two ways to get out of poverty. Win the lotto and the other is to get yourself a good education.?

Nextream officials who were present at the donation and graduation rites include: Gary Cedeno, chief finance officer; Harold Hui, advisor; corporate counsel Rico Sogocio and Penelco administrator Loreto Marcelino.

Nextream has set its sights on tapping over 40,000 barangays connected to power lines, since electricity networks basically form the most ubiquitous utility in the Philippines.

With a 6 percent growth rate in subscription per annum, using these power lines to extend immediate access to the Internet and to become a competitive communication infrastructure in the country definitely offers an affordable alternative within the reach of everyone, without extra infrastructure costs.

For his part, engineer Loreto Marcelino said Penelco is honored to be the premier and pilot partner of Nextream in this noble venture aimed at empowering the people in the rural areas.

?We always pride ourselves in any pioneering venture or achievement. Penelco is the first in the whole country which registered 100 percent electrification in 1997. We are glad to be part of this new project that will lead to Balanga being known as the ?wired city? in the Philippines,? Marcelino said.

Penelco, which has a training center, hosted a three-week training for 28 individuals coming from Cebu, Pangasinan and Bataan to become ?BPL? specialists.

To date, Nextream has formal tie-ups with Cebu Electric Cooperatives, Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative, Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative and Cagayan Electric Cooperative ? all with combined 670,000 consumers.

The province is famous worldwide by the April 9, 1942 Fall of Bataan, a national holiday, commemorating the surrender of Filipino and American soldiers led by US General Wainwright to the Japanese forces.

?With the entry of Penelco Broadband that is expected to create a new wave not only in Bataan but in the whole country, we expect the province?s new rise as the ?high-tech? peninsula in the Philippines,? said Marcelino.

guest (user link) says:

Re: in Philippines` BPL: ahead of other countries

Philippines: a new BPL rollout !!!…..
New broadband-over-power lines technology kicks off in Bataan
as of 10:17 PM)1/28/06
BALANGA CITY – A United States-based firm and the Peninsula Electric Cooperative of Bataan formally launched on Friday a new technology that will make use of electric lines not only for electric power but also for Internet connection, telephone lines and cable television.
Nextream Broadband Philippines, a US-based firm with Filipino-American businessman Tyrone Javellana as chairman and chief executive officer, introduced broadband-over-power-lines technology in Bataan.
Ronald Fesalbon, Nextream?s chief technical officer, said the towns of Pilar and Abucay and the City of Balanga, the base of the project, are already on-line and ready for commercial operation before the second week of February.
He explained that with the use of a modem priced at P1,200, one can have Internet access or telephone connection anywhere by simply plugging it to any electric convenience outlet available in the house or at the office.
Fesalbon said that with the use of BPL, overseas call to the United States will cost only five cents for every minute as compared to 40 cents charged by other cell-phone companies.
Penelco general manager Loreto Marcelino said the Bataan electric distributor is honored to be the premier and pilot partner of Nextream in the noble venture aimed at empowering the people in the rural areas.
“Penelco is the first in the country which registered 100-percent electrification for Bataan in 1997 and we are glad to be part of this project that will make Balanga the first ?wired city? in the Philippines,” Marcelino said.
REMEMBER THIS: CAPIZ, Philippines rollout TV Broadband Over Power Lines (BPL).
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/ilo/2005/11/12/bus/firm.offers.cable.tv.connect ion.via.power.lines.html

guest (user link) says:

DS2 200 Mbps BPL technology is working with ARRL L

League Views BPL Manufacturer’s Interference Abatement Efforts with Interest

NEWINGTON, CT, Mar 22, 2006–A demonstration at ARRL Headquarters of DS2 BPL equipment suggests the manufacturer is working to minimize–if not altogether eliminate–interference from its products on amateur bands, ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, says. Hare met with two DS2 officials earlier this month to discuss the company’s improved approach to Amateur Radio band notching techniques. Based upon his observations during a demonstration of DS2’s latest generation G2 technology, Hare says he’s cautiously optimistic. A spectrum analyzer check of the modem’s output showed the G2 modem could attain a notch depth of up to 40 dB.

“While there’s no certainty that all BPL products using this technology could achieve 40 dB of protection within notched spectrum, our tests show the capability to do so is there,” Hare commented. “This may not prevent all interference problems, but a 10 to 15 dB improvement over the notching used by many BPL systems in place today would be a significant improvement.”

In its October 2005 Petition for Further Rule Making in the BPL proceeding, ARRL cited BPL systems using Main.net and DS2 chipsets as among those that lack fixed, permanent notches in the ham bands and “have caused numerous cases of harmful interference to stations in the Amateur Service.”

Texas Demonstration Inspires Invitation

Hare says he was intrigued by a demonstration of DS2’s latest technology he witnessed last September during a United Power Line Council (UPLC) event in Texas. During his presentation, DS2 Director of Strategy and Standardization Victor Dominguez said that the manufacturer had improved the depth of the notches in its chipset.

Two days later, Hare had an opportunity to see a DS2 system in Houston. Some quick tests showed that although close-in notching wasn’t much better than other systems’, BPL noise dropped below the ambient noise level deep into the notches. Hare and Dominguez subsequently agreed to have DS2 staff work with ARRL to investigate the company’s notching improvements.

Figure 1: The notch depth in this test shows that BPL noise is reduced by about 40 dB in the amateur bands. “This demonstrates that the DS2 G2 chipsets are capable of protecting the amateur bands by 40 dB in a properly designed product,” says ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI. “In this case, guard bands were programmed into the notch to ensure that the notch depth across the entire amateur band was 40 dB.”

On March 9 DS2 Vice President of Technology and Strategic Partnerships Chano Gómez and Product Manager Eduardo Lluna, EA5ETP, brought a pair of modems using DS2’s latest-generation G2 technology to ARRL Headquarters. Gómez directs DS2’s US office in California. Lluna is based in Valencia, Spain. After a tour of Headquarters, the trio got down to work in the ARRL Laboratory’s screen room, where the G2 modems were set up. The spectrum analyzer results in Figure 1 for the 20-meter band were typical of all bands measured, Hare said.

“It is good to see testing that shows this implementation of technology has improved,” Hare remarked. He said Gómez has offered to release application notes or other information outlining how DS2 has been able to configure its modems to achieve a 40 dB notch depth across entire amateur bands.

The DS2 modems also were tested at Maxim Memorial Station W1AW, where they were plugged into outlets in separate parts of the building and set to transmit data. Hare listened on a number of ham bands and on adjacent spectrum. Inside the ham bands, the signal was inaudible, he said.

“Although this was encouraging as a reasonable quick-look test of DS2 modems on premise,” Hare cautioned, “testing on a BPL installation using overhead power lines would present a more realistic situation from which to draw firm conclusions.” Gómez offered to look into ways such tests might be arranged.

Gómez said he’s happy to be working with ARRL to demonstrate that DS2’s chipsets are Amateur Radio-friendly. “We have made a huge effort to ensure that the 40 dB programmable notches in our OFDM chipset provide adequate protection,” he said.

According to Lluna, several vendors already have deployed DS2-based equipment in the US, “and this gives them the mechanism to avoid interference problems completely.” Feedback from the ARRL “has been invaluable” in achieving that goal, he added.

Exchange of Ideas

Afterwards, Hare, Gómez and Lluna discussed BPL and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) issues and potential solutions to head off most cases of interference. “We had a solid exchange of ideas about the technical aspects of interference problems and how improved notch depth could be combined with other techniques to prevent and correct interference,” Hare said. “The DS2 staff has a good grasp of the technical issues involved and believes many of them ultimately can be implemented in deployed systems.”

ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, concurred with Hare’s cautious optimism. “We very much appreciate this dialogue with DS2, and we are looking forward to turning talk into action and solutions,” he said.


AMBIENT CORP. will be using DS2 G2 200 Mbps BROADBAND over POWER LINES Technology with DUKE ENERGY BPL project !!!

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