NAB Fears Power-Line Broadband


Broadcasters are warning that broadband service provided over high-power
utility lines could disrupt over-the-air TV signals in the lower VHF band.

As a result, the National Association of Broadcasters is calling on federal
regulators to ensure that BPL (broadband over power lines) operators do not
transmit within protected TV-spectrum bands.

"BPL systems operating in this range pose serious risk of interference to
television channels 2-5, especially the 11 stations currently transmitting a
digital-broadcast signal on those channels, as well as several stations that are
likely to elect lower VHF channels at the end of the digital-television
transition," the NAB said in July 7 comments filed with the Federal
Communications Commission.

FCC chairman Michael Powell is hoping that power companies can offer
facilities-based competition to cable and phone companies, which dominate the
residential high-speed-data market.

So far, the commission had decided just to study the potential of BPL, which
can transmit data over the air from nearby poles to home receivers.

But in its filing, the NAB pointed to studies in Japan, the Netherlands and
Great Britain showing that BPL systems "can cause interference" with

"Faced with an interference-riddled environment, viewers may be reluctant,
even unwilling, to invest in DTV receivers," the trade group said. "When faced
with a complete loss of picture, viewers may simply choose to seek programming
from another medium."