The Amateur Radio Service has long had a love/hate relationship with the FCC. The same federal organization that protects our precious radio spectrum is the same one that can take it away - or allow it to be taken from us as is potentially the case with the current debate over Broadband over Powerline, (BPL).
BPL is a technology that allows high speed internet to be distributed over high voltage power lines that criss-cross the United States. The system would allow current power companies to become internet service providers to much of the country with most of their customers living in rural areas that are currently not being serviced by existing Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or Cable broadband services.
The area of concern by the amateur radio community is that this internet signal is transmitted through the electrical lines at frequencies from 2Mhz to 80Mhz - 80 through 6 meters. Studies have shown that, at the power levels suggested by the power companies along with the transmission lines acting like very large antennas, the typical amateur operator with have an estimated 33.7db to 65.4db of additional ambient noise to contend with!
As you can see, this has the potential for dramatically changing the way users will be able to operate on the HF bands. If they are able to operate at all. But things don't have to be that way.
There are a few things you can do to let the FCC know that you feel that allowing BPL to advance will be a detriment to The Amateur Radio Service.
First you can support the ARRL by joining if you are not already a member. The ARRL is the only national organization that represents and defends amateur radio interests to state and federal government. Average Joe Ham User may not be able to go to Washington D.C. and get before a House Committee, but ARRL President Jim Haynie can and has, to wave the flag of amateur radio.
Secondly, you can contribute to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund, a fund that goes towards protecting our precious radio spectrum when it is eyed by corporate America. Big business has big pockets and on Capitol Hill money talks in a round about way. The Spectrum Defense Fund gives us more of a fighting chance when stating our case to the FCC by paying for studies and to develop technologies that allow us to work with business in a mutually beneficial way instead of competing, where the amateur radio community often gets the short end of the stick.
And lastly, you can file a comment with the FCC on the issue. Here's how to do it. Go to the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System web site here - http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/>http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/>http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/.
On the right hand side of the page you will see a yellow box titled "ECFS Main Links" with several links below it. The second link down is "Submit a Filing". Click on that one. From there you are taken to a second web page where you enter personal information as well as a statement on the FCC filing you are commenting on.
At the top of the page you will see a blank titled "Proceeding". In that blank enter "03-104" and then enter the rest of the information requested. At the bottom of the page is the space where you can enter your comments. For suggestions on what to enter please go to the following web site - https://www.arrl.org/news/features/2003/06/19/2/ If everyone does just these few things I think we stand a good chance of coming out of this with our spectrum unmolested. I hate to think what would happen otherwise.
If everyone does just these few things I think we stand a good chance of coming out of this with our spectrum unmolested. I hate to think what would happen otherwise.