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COMTek addresses BPL interference concerns

Thu, 01/26/2006 - 5:40am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Communication Technologies Inc. (COMTek) said it has voluntarily applied "notching" to about 600 broadband over powerline (BPL) devices in Manassas, Va. over interference fears raised by area ham radio operators.

To comply with FCC rules and to ensure that BPL services do not interfere with ham radio, the technology can notch, or filter out, spectrum used by ham radio operators. So far, the technique has obtained little in the way of an endorsement from the ARRL (American Radio Relay League).

COMTek said there is no "documented basis for further ham radio operator concerns."

The BPL network in the area uses the city-wide power grid to deliver high-speed Internet services. Despite its decision to act, COMTek played down the number of ham radio operator complaints, claiming that many of them originate from "non-Manassas individuals."

"We know of fewer than half a dozen ham radio operator complaints, each of which COMTek has gone to truly extraordinary lengths to address. We are not aware of any valid basis for the concerns of those who would deprive BPL broadband to Manassas families and small businesses," said COMTek Vice President Walt Adams.

According to COMTek, the company completed notching of all BPL devices in the overhead areas of Manassas in mid-January, and is now monitoring the BPL network for potential interference issues going forward.

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