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Access Broadband over Power Line Systems Second MO&O

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Released: April 17, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

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Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Amendment of Part 15 regarding new requirements )
ET Docket No. 04-37
and measurement guidelines for Access Broadband )
over Power Line Systems
)
)

Carrier Current Systems, including Broadband over )
ET Docket No. 03-104
Power Line Systems
)
)

SECOND MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Adopted: April 16, 2013

Released: April 17, 2013
By the Commission: Commissioner McDowell not participating.

I.

INTRODUCTION

1. In this Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (BPL Second MO&O), we address a
petition for reconsideration filed by the national association for Amateur Radio, formally known as
the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).1 ARRL seeks reconsideration of the Commission’s
Second Report and Order (BPL Second Order) in the above proceeding relating to Access Broadband
over Power Line (Access BPL) systems.2 We conclude that our previous decisions in this proceeding
strike an appropriate balance between the dual objectives of providing for Access BPL technology --
which has potential applications for broadband and Smart Grid uses -- while protecting incumbent
radio services against harmful interference.3 We deny the ARRL petition for reconsideration; it does
not raise new arguments based on new information in the record or on the Commission’s new
analysis of limited points as directed by the Court, nor does it demonstrate any errors or omissions in
the Commission’s previous decisions.

1 ARRL Petition for Reconsideration of Second Report and Order filed on Dec. 20, 2011 (Petition). In support of
ARRL’s petition, James E. Whedbee filed a pleading titled “Informal Request in the nature of a Petition for
Reconsideration and Formal Comments of James Edwin Whedbee in Support of Petition for Reconsideration filed
by ARRL” on Dec. 28, 2011. He requests a complete rescission of the BPL rules and did not raise any substantive
issues other than those raised by ARRL and raised previously by Mr. Whedbee himself. That pleading is also
denied as discussed herein.
2 Second Report and Order in ET Docket Nos. 04-37, 03-104 (Amendment of Part 15 Regarding New Requirements
and Measurement Guidelines for Access Broadband Over Power Line Systems, Carrier Current Systems)
, 26 FCC
Rcd 15712 (2011) (BPL Second Order).
3 A “smart grid” electricity network includes an intelligent monitoring system that keeps track of all electric power
flowing in the system from suppliers to consumers and provides real-time or near-real-time load information to
permit improved transmission management. It also can utilize two-way digital technology to control appliances at
consumers' homes to reduce peaks and even out demand, to save energy, to reduce cost, and to increase reliability
and transparency.

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II.

BACKGROUND

2. The Commission adopted rules for Access BPL systems in 20044 and affirmed those
rules on reconsideration in 2006.5 ARRL challenged the BPL rules in the United States Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia.6 In ARRL v. FCC, the Court directed the Commission to: 1)
place in the record unredacted versions of several staff technical studies which the Commission had
placed in the record in redacted form and had considered in promulgating the rules; 2) provide a
reasonable opportunity for public comment on those studies; and 3) provide a reasoned explanation of
its choice of the extrapolation factor7 for use in measuring radiated emissions from Access BPL
systems. In response, the Commission placed the identified staff studies in the record in toto and
issued a Request for Further Comment and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this
proceeding (BPL RFC/FNPRM).8 Subsequently, in the BPL Second Order, the Commission
completed its action addressing the Court’s concerns. In particular, considering comments responsive
to previously redacted information in the studies it relied on, the Commission affirmed the BPL rules.
It also: 1) further explained its rationale for the 40-dB-per-decade extrapolation factor for frequencies
below 30 MHz;9 2) modified the rules to increase the required “notch filtering” capability for systems
operating below 30 MHz from 20 dB to 25 dB; 3) established a new alternative procedure for
determining site-specific extrapolation factors, and 4) adopted a definition for the “slant-range
distance”10 used in the BPL measurement guidelines to further clarify its application. As part of this

4 Report and Order in ET Docket Nos. 04-37, 03-104 (Amendment of Part 15 Regarding New Requirements and
Measurement Guidelines for Access Broadband Over Power Line Systems, Carrier Current Systems)
, 19 FCC Rcd
21265 (2004) (BPL First Order).
5 Memorandum Opinion and Order in ET Docket Nos. 04-37, 03-104 (Amendment of Part 15 Regarding New
Requirements and Measurement Guidelines for Access Broadband Over Power Line Systems; Carrier Current
Systems, including Broadband over Power Line Systems)
, 21 FCC Rcd 9308 (2006) (BPL First MO&O).
6 American Radio Relay League Incorporated, v. Federal Communications Commission, 524 F.3d 227 (D.C. Cir.
2008) (ARRL v. FCC).
7 Because the field strength of radiated emissions decreases with increasing distance from the emitter (due to
propagation losses), an “extrapolation” factor is used to adjust measurement results to account for the difference in
attenuation when measurements are made at a distance other than the standard distance specified in the rules. The
extrapolation factor used in measuring radiated emissions from Access BPL systems is the same as that used with
measurements of radiated emissions on frequencies under 30 MHz from other RF sources. See 47 C.F.R. §
15.31(f)(2).
8 Request for Further Comment and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in ET Dockets No. 04-37 and 03-104
(Amendment of Part 15 Regarding New Requirements and Measurement Guidelines for Access Broadband Over
Power Line Systems; Carrier Current Systems, including Broadband over Power Line Systems)
, 24 FCC Rcd 9669
(2009) (BPL RFC/FNPRM).
9 “Decade,” a 10 to 1 range, refers to the ratio of the specified measurement distance to the actual measurement
distance. An extrapolation factor of 40 dB per decade treats emissions as if they attenuate at a rate inversely
proportional to the square of the distance from the emitter (1/R2). See 47 C.F.R. § 15.31(f)(2).
10 Because Access BPL devices are mounted on overhead power lines and the measurement antenna is generally at a
lower height closer to the ground, the actual distance from the power line to the measurement antenna is greater than
the horizontal distance from the power line pole on which the BPL device is mounted to the measurement antenna.
The correct distance for measurement is therefore the “slant range” diagonal distance measured from the center of
the measurement antenna to the nearest point of the overhead power line carrying the Access BPL signal being
measured, rather than the horizontal distance that would normally be used for measurements. Although the
definition for slant-range distance was not part of the BPL rules adopted in 2004, its use was mandated in the BPL
Measurement Guidelines and the concept was discussed at length in conjunction with the NTIA measurement height
correction factor in the BPL First Order. BPL First Order at 21309-21310, paras. 107-110 and at 21339-21343,
Appendix C. See also BPL Second Order at 15755, para. 88, and at 15780-15785, Appendix E.
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action, the FCC also rejected ARRL’s newly raised request for mandatory notching of all amateur
bands at notch depths of at least 35 dB,11 and found no basis that would warrant modification of the
Access BPL rules or otherwise provide additional protection for the amateur radio service.12
3.
ARRL petitioned for reconsideration of the BPL Second Order, arguing that the rules fail to
acknowledge the substantial interference potential of Access BPL systems relative to amateur radio high
frequency (HF) communications, and reiterating its previous request for full-time notching (frequency
avoidance) of all amateur frequency allocations.13 One individual amateur radio licensee, James Edwin
Whedbee, filed in support of ARRL.14 Four parties filed in opposition of the ARRL Petition.15

III.

DISCUSSION

4.
In its Petition, ARRL again requests that we modify the Access BPL rules to adopt
mandatory, full-time notching of all amateur radio allocations (amateur bands), this time requesting notch
depths of at least 25 dB.16 It bases this request on its contention that we should acknowledge: 1) the
unique and substantial interference potential of Access BPL systems relative to amateur radio HF
communications; 2) the inapplicability and/or inadequacy of the BPL rules with respect to amateur radio
interaction; 3) the clear necessity of mandatory, full-time notching by Access BPL systems of amateur
radio allocations to notch depths of at least 25 dB; and 4) the absence of any negative effect on BPL
systems of the obligation to maintain full-time notching of amateur bands.17 As discussed below and as
supported by the record, ARRL makes these arguments based on the same reasoning and facts that we
considered and disposed of previously in the BPL First Order, the BPL First MO&O, and the BPL
Second Order
. We are, again, unpersuaded by its arguments and we deny its Petition.
5.
Throughout this proceeding and in its judicial appeal, the ARRL has argued that more
restrictive technical standards are needed to protect the amateur radio service from interference
caused by radiofrequency (RF) emissions from Access BPL systems. We have specifically rejected
as unnecessary these repeated requests by ARRL for tighter emissions controls on Access BPL
operations, more stringent interference mitigation measures, and requirements for avoidance of BPL
operations in the amateur bands.18
6. The only changes adopted in the BPL Second Order were minor adjustments to the rules
as proposed in the BPL RFC/FNPRM. Specifically, the Commission: 1) modified the rules to
increase the required notch filtering capability for systems operating below 30 MHz from 20 dB to

11 Frequency “notching” refers to the practice of frequency avoidance, where the frequency in question is “filtered
out”, or notched.
12 BPL Second Order at 15725-15726, para. 29, and at 15735, para. 45.
13 The HF band covers frequencies from 3 to 30 MHz.
14 Comment of James E. Whedbee.
15 See Opposition of Current Group, LLC (Current), Joint Opposition of the Edison Electric Institute and the
Utilities Telecom Council (EEI and UTC), and Opposition of HomePlug Powerline Alliance (HomePlug).
16 ARRL’s previous request was for notch depths of at least 35 dB, but in light of the Commission’s changes to the
notch depth requirements in the BPL rules adopted in the BPL Second Order, it now accepts the Commission’s
determination with respect to notch depth while still requesting full-time notching of amateur frequencies at all
locations, rather than the as-needed notching specified in the BPL rules.
17 ARRL Petition at para. 21.
18 BPL Second Order at 15714, para. 3, and at 15735, para. 45.
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25 dB;19 2) established a new alternative procedure for determining site-specific extrapolation
factors,20 and 3) adopted a definition for the “slant-range distance” used in the BPL measurement
guidelines to further clarify its application.21 As indicated above, the Commission also explained its
rationale for and affirmed its use of a 40-dB-per-decade extrapolation factor for frequencies below
30 MHz.22
7. ARRL is not specifically requesting reconsideration of these above minor modifications
to the rules that were adopted in the BPL Second Order. Rather, ARRL is reiterating its previous
request for mandatory full-time permanent notching of all amateur radio allocations,23 which we
considered and rejected in the BPL Second Order.24 In support of this request, ARRL makes several
arguments, which we will consider sequentially below.
8. First, ARRL disagrees with the Commission’s analyses and conclusions on the staff
studies and their bearing on the adequacy of the Access BPL rules. ARRL argues that in the BPL
Second Order
the Commission discounts its own study conducted by its Technical Research Branch
(TRB) by mischaracterizing the results and by attempting to distance itself from TRB’s studies and
recommendations.25 We note that in the BPL Second Order, the Commission discussed this issue at
length, and explained its rationale with respect to each point of this same argument that ARRL first
raised in its comments to the BPL RFC/FNPRM.26 ARRL makes no new argument here. ARRL here
contends that TRB’s studies (i.e., all of the 2003 and 2004 field studies and the July 2009 released
documents) used scientifically valid methodologies and the Commission did not rebut them as a
technical matter. ARRL specifically did not agree with the Commission’s assessment in the BPL
Second Order
regarding the video files of the now-defunct BriarCliff Manor experimental BPL
system (BriarCliff Manor video#5) recorded on August 17, 2004 that were part of the released July
2009 staff materials.27 In this regard, we note that the Commission explained in detail the particulars
of that experimental BPL system and the reasons why it did not rely on TRB’s technical findings,
stating that “…it does not appear that any of the mitigating features that are required in the rules had
been applied to this experimental BPL system” [at the time the video clip was made.]28 In particular,
the Commission noted that “our staff did contact the licensee about interference from that system
several times over the course of its operation and the operator took steps first to cease operation on
the amateur frequencies and then to install new equipment that had notching capability. Subsequent
examination of that system by field agents of our Enforcement Bureau (EB) found no interference,
which substantiates the effectiveness of our rules when properly observed.”29 We further observe that

19 BPL Second Order at 15734, para. 43.
20 Id., at 15760-15761, paras. 98-100.
21 47 C.F.R. § 15.3(hh).
22 BPL Second Order at 15746-15747, paras. 71-73.
23 ARRL states that notch depth (25 dB or 35 dB) is not as important as full-time permanent notching of all amateur
bands. ARRL Petition at fn. 10.
24 BPL Second Order at 15735, para. 45.
25 ARRL Petition at paras. 10-12.
26 BPL Second Order at 15726-15741, paras. 30-57.
27 ARRL Petition at para. 2.
28 BPL Second Order at 15727-15728, para. 32.
29 Id. Although in fn. 14 of its Petition ARRL continues to disagree with our findings regarding the BriarCliff
Manor experimental BPL system, repeating its argument that, after the above BriarCliff Manor video clip#5 was
(continued….)
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we pointed out with in-depth analyses in the BPL Second Order that we simply did not draw the same
conclusions from the released studies and materials as ARRL did, and that “in some cases, ARRL
simply (and incorrectly) draws different conclusions from the …[staff studies and] presentations than
we do.”30 ARRL has made no new argument with respect to this contention that was not already
considered and disposed of in our earlier decisions.
9.
ARRL also repeats its disagreements with the Commission’s assessment of the nature of
Access BPL technology. It questions the Commission’s reasons for not imposing conducted emission
limits on Access BPL and instead atypically imposing only radiated emission limits. It contends that
according to several BPL standards, the actual conducted emission level for BPL is approximately 30 dB
higher than the conducted emission levels for other Part 15 devices that are not carrier current systems.31
We note that the Commission discussed this issue in the BPL First Order in which it explained that
because Access BPL signals are transported on medium voltage power lines of up to 40,000 volts, there
would be extreme safety issues for test personnel involved in connecting test equipment that would have
to be able to measure conducted emissions in such high voltage lines.32 This determination is now
long-since established and ARRL did not submit any new information in its reconsideration petition here.
10. ARRL also argues that the BPL Second Order did not address why the emission limits for
BPL are set at levels as much as 25 dB greater than the generally-accepted median levels of ambient noise
in typical environments and more than 45 dB greater than the quiet rural environment that represent the
more quiet times and frequencies within an amateur band.33 We note that the emission limits for Access
BPL are the same as the general emission limits in Section 15.209 of the rules for other Part 15
intentional radiators,34 which have been in existence in various forms for over 50 years; furthermore, as
we discussed in the BPL Second Order, “to minimize the potential for harmful interference, facilitate its
resolution where it may occur, and address cases where its possible occurrence could impact critical
(Continued from previous page)
recorded on Aug. 17, 2004, our Enforcement Bureau (EB) staff responding in 2005 to interference complaints filed
at the end of 2004 did not go to the location where the interference was reported, we note that the three locations our
EB staff went to measure the emission levels were identified as the worst locations by the complainant, Mr. Alan
Crosswell. At the location identified by ARRL as untested by EB staff (i.e., along Dalmeny Road), Mr. Crosswell
had reported prior to the staff’s visit that he had noticed a reduction in noise after fixes had been implemented by the
BPL operator as compared to the original noise level reported. Consequently, the staff reasonably focused its
attention on the other three worst locations (i.e., along North State Road), rather than along Dalmeny Road. This
situation was partly identified in the Feb 10, 2005 letter from Bruce Franca, FCC Office of Engineering and
Technology to Chris Imlay, counsel to ARRL. We acknowledge that Ambient continued to operate at BriarCliff
Manor under an experimental license for a period of time after 2005, and interference situations may have occurred
as it tested trial equipment from different generations of BPL technology. This does not reflect on the efficacy of
properly installed and functioning equipment that is fully compliant with our rules.
30 BPL Second Order at 15721, para. 19.
31 ARRL Petition at para. 2. Carrier current systems such as BPL use alternating current (AC) electric power lines
to carry communications by coupling very low power RF signals onto the AC electric wiring. Carrier current
systems are exempt from conducted emission limits in the rules. 47 C.F.R. § 15.107(c).
32 BPL First Order at 21279-21280, para. 33 and fn. 67. The Commission explained that “conducted emissions are
measured by connecting the Equipment under Test (EUT) to a Line Impedance Stabilization Network (LISN) that
simulates the impedance of the power network while sourcing power to the EUT. Such a LISN would have to be
capable of sourcing 1,000 volts to 40,000 volts to an Access BPL system. Furthermore, measuring instruments such
as spectrum analyzers, voltmeters, etc. would also be connected to this LISN, thus high voltage hazards could affect
both test equipment and test personnel.”
33 ARRL Petition at para. 3.
34 47 C.F.R. § 15.209.
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services, we adopted additional regulatory measures35 beyond the emissions limits in the Part 15 rules.”36
With regard to the ambient noise levels (noise floor), the Commission discussed these issues at length in
the BPL Second Order37 and provided additional protection for all licensed services, including amateur
service, by requiring an increase of 5 dB in the notching capability of Access BPL systems.38
11. ARRL disagrees with the Commission’s conclusion in the BPL Second Order39 that BPL
systems increase the noise floor only within a relatively short distance (15-400 meters) from the power
lines; it complains that this “unquantifiable increase in noise floor” is apparently not acceptable to the
Commission when the victim operates in a U.S. Government frequency band (e.g., aeronautical service)
but is acceptable when the victim is an amateur radio station.40 ARRL argues that this treatment of
different licensed radio services is arbitrary and capricious on its face.41 We note here that in both the
BPL First Order and the BPL Second Order, the Commission discussed at length the reasons for its
decision to designate only certain frequencies used by “critical” Federal Government services as
recommended by NTIA, as being excluded from Access BPL usage (only 2% of the spectrum within the
1.7-80 MHz band qualify as excluded frequencies.)42 Although ARRL has repeatedly requested to have
all amateur HF and VHF allocations43 be included with critical Federal Government services, the
Commission found, and still finds, that amateur radio frequencies do not warrant the special protection
afforded to frequencies reserved for international aeronautical and maritime safety operation. In this
regard, we noted that amateur frequencies are generally used for routine communications and hobby
activities, notwithstanding the fact that amateurs may on occasion assist in providing emergency
communications.44 We find that the recently released information in the staff unredacted studies did not
provide any new information not already known to the Commission and ARRL did not bring any new
information on this issue on reconsideration.
12. ARRL next points to issues regarding the interference potential from Access BPL systems to
amateur radio operations. It argues that in the BPL First Order at paragraph 39, the Commission was
wrong in stating that BPL is not an efficient radiator, and that BPL interference actually permeates large
areas because overhead unshielded power lines exist throughout residential areas, not just along one line
of one roadway. We note that the Commission addressed this issue in the BPL First Order, making
reference to the NTIA Phase 1 Study in which NTIA agrees with the Commission that these systems are
not efficient radiators, nor are their emissions cumulative such that they permeate areas in which they are
located.45 The Commission also addressed ARRL’s repeated argument that BPL causes preclusive
interference over large areas46 in the BPL Second Order.47 ARRL did not bring any new information or

35 47 C.F.R. § 15.609-615.
36 BPL Second Order at 15720, para. 15.
37 BPL Second Order at 15731-15739, paras. 41-55.
38 BPL Second Order at 15733-15734, para. 43.
39 BPL Second Order at 15738-15739, paras. 54-55.
40 ARRL Petition at para. 13.
41 ARRL Petition at para. 14.
42 BPL First Order at 21287-21288, para. 49.
43 The HF band covers frequencies from 3 MHz to 30 MHz and the VHF band covers frequencies from 30 MHz to
300 MHz.
44 BPL First Order at 21287-21288, 21289, paras. 49 and 53, BPL Second Order at 15729-15730, para. 37.
45 BPL First Order at 21282-21283, para. 39 and fn. 85, NTIA Phase 1 Study, Volume 1, at 5-5 to 5-15.
46 BPL Second Order at 15723-15724, para. 25.
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argument to this issue on reconsideration.
13. In requesting reconsideration of the Commission’s decision to decline its request for
full-time permanent notching of amateur bands in the BPL Second Order,48 ARRL claims that the
Commission ignores the ubiquitous49 nature of amateur radio and such a decision completely fails to
prevent interference to mobile stations.50 It argues that a mobile amateur station should not have to drive
outside an entire city or community in order to be able to communicate. We note that the Commission
discussed the issue of mobile communications in detail along with the variability of levels in HF
communications, stating in part that “…the significant variability in background noise levels limits the
reliability of HF signals below 30 MHz such that BPL emissions at…[the limit required in the
rules]…should not generally be considered harmful interference;”51 however, “to take a more
conservative approach [the Commission] decided to provide additional protection to mobile stations by
increasing the required notch depth from 20 dB to 25 dB.”52 ARRL did not bring any new information to
this issue on reconsideration.
14. ARRL also states that on Dec. 29, 2010, it submitted a BPL interference complaint jointly to
the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau (EB) and Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) regarding
some BPL systems operated by International Broadband Electric Communications (IBEC),53 and on
February 10, 2011, it submitted a request to OET to set aside the certification grants for the equipment
used by these IBEC BPL systems.54 ARRL argues that because no action has been taken on these
complaints, the rules should require permanent notching of amateur frequencies since post hoc
enforcement of interference issues is not adequate.55 We observe that over the years, the Commission has
investigated and taken action on BPL complaints where it appeared that it was warranted. In the early
period of BPL development, before the rules were in place and compliant equipment was in use, some of
our investigations took time to complete. After the rules were established in 2004, there were fewer
incidences of interference complaints and we have had cooperation from the BPL system operators to
resolve them. We notice that before the Commission could take action on ARRL’s December 2010
interference complaint and February 2011 request regarding IBEC, IBEC had started the shut-down of all
(Continued from previous page)
47 BPL Second Order at 15725-15726, para. 29, stating that “…ARRL’s [contentions]… are in some aspects
consistent with our own assessments, in other aspects incorrect, and, importantly, in many aspects do not account for
the real world conditions affecting the propagation of RF emissions at HF frequencies.”
48 BPL Second Order at 15737, para. 51.
49 Were it significant to our resolution of this issue, we would note that ARRL is overly enthusiastic in
characterizing amateur radio operations as “ubiquitous.” According to Webster, “ubiquitous” means “existing or
being everywhere at the same time; constantly encountered.” http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/ubiquitous. While mobile amateurs may potentially operate over appreciable parts of the
overall landscape, there is nothing to suggest that at any given time, the cumulative geographic area in which
actively operating amateur radio operations are occurring is anything other than minute; compare this to the extent
of the potential area of operations of BPL that ARRL would have us significantly diminish.
50 ARRL Petition at para. 16.
51 BPL Second Order at 15733, para. 43.
52 BPL Second Order at 15733-15734, para. 43.
53 ARRL complained, inter alia, that these IBEC systems did not notch amateur bands nor did they notch the
aeronautical bands specified in Section 15.615(f)(1), even though IBEC specified in the BPL database that the
notches were implemented.
54 ARRL Petition at para. 8.
55 ARRL Petition at para. 16.
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its BPL operations,56 making investigation of its operations as they related to the complaints moot. This
anomalous case cannot be extrapolated to conclude that the Commission does not have the capability
and/or readiness to enforce its BPL rules. To the contrary, the Commission has diligently investigated
previous complaints about interference from BPL systems.
15. ARRL further disagrees with the Commission’s assumption in the BPL Second Order57 that
the BPL operator has a strong incentive to voluntarily utilize full notching of the amateur bands in the
vicinity of amateur radio operators for interference mitigation unless full-time permanent notching of
amateur bands throughout a BPL system is required by the rules. We reiterate here, to the contrary, that
“[g]iven that identification and resolution of harmful interference can involve expenditures of staff time
and resources for Access BPL providers and possibly the temporary disruption of service to their
subscribers, these providers have a strong incentive to take a priori steps to ensure that they avoid causing
interference to the local radio services, including amateurs”.58 ARRL has not provided a basis for
reconsideration of this position. As for ARRL’s complaint that IBEC BPL systems in operation in North
Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania at one time did voluntarily notch amateur bands but stopped doing
so,59 IBEC and other operators were not obligated to notch, or continue to notch, the amateur bands on a
full-time, system-wide basis. We do not see a reason to consider the IBEC experience involving a single
interference complaint for a system that was ultimately shut down to be a basis for imposing a mandatory
notching requirement. In any event, ARRL fails to relate that in the decision which it challenges here we
merely noted the likely incentive for BPL operators to notch where that provides the most efficacious
approach for dealing with potential interference issues. We clearly did not rely on voluntary, full-time,
system-wide notching as a basis for our rules at that time nor do we now.
16. ARRL next contends that the Commission ignored several sources that point to a high
probability of interference from Access BPL to existing HF and VHF spectrum users.60 In accordance
with the Court’s mandate, we analyzed all relevant information and explained in great detail in the BPL
Second Order
that we are not persuaded by ARRL’s technical submissions, including the reports and
technical standards referenced in its numerous filings, that our assessment of the interference potential
from BPL operations was incorrect or inappropriate, or that modifications to the BPL emissions limits
and other technical rules to provide additional protection for the amateur service are warranted.61 In its
instant Petition, ARRL specifically argues that we did not discuss an OFCOM study on In-House BPL in
our consideration of Access BPL interference potential.62 However, that report was not given significant
weight in our deliberations because it specifically covers In-House BPL, the operating characteristics of
which are significantly different from those of Access BPL and therefore render that report not
substantively relevant to the issues under consideration in the present proceeding.63

56 IBEC suffered heavy financial loss from the April 2011 tornadoes that affected most of its BPL major coverage
regions, and the final closure of all of its Access BPL operation s in North America occurred in Jan. 2012. See
http://www.telecompetitor.com/ibec-shutdown-deals-latest-blow-to-bpl/ .
57 BPL Second Order at 15740-15741, para. 57.
58 Id.
59 ARRL Petition at para. 8.
60 ARRL Petition at paras. 3-4.
61 BPL Second Order at 15754-15755, para. 87 and fn. 224.
62 ARRL Petition at paras. 3-4.
63 United Kingdom Office of Communications (OFCOM) Report published in June 2010 titled The Likelihood and
Extend of Radio Frequency Interference from In-Home PLT
. The report clearly states that “the focus of this study is
on in-home PLT devices, which provide a network within the home, rather than access PLT devices, which provide
(continued….)
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17. ARRL repeats its argument that the BPL database64 contains many errors that undermine the
usefulness of the database as a tool for interference mitigation.65 We note that in the BPL Second Order
the Commission encouraged the database administrator, the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) to be
diligent in its management of the database and other interested parties to work with UTC in providing
information to ensure that the records in the database are accurate and up-to-date,66 and UTC affirmed
that the database has been and is being reviewed periodically to ensure that the information is currently
accurate.67 We also note that there could be some period of time between the date a BPL operator enters
information into the BPL database regarding a near-future deployment and the actual deployment date,
which might depend on business conditions, financial obligations, changes in business plans, etc. We
expressed our expectation that UTC periodically contact its BPL database members to ensure that
obsolete information is removed or updated and we have counseled UTC on its obligations.68 While we
expect the BPL database to be maintained to accurately indicate the status of BPL operations, we
nonetheless note that an Access BPL system that ceases to operate without updating its database
information does not pose an increased potential for unanticipated interference. If any specific cases of
BPL operators failing to provide information to the database in a timely fashion as required by Section
15.615(a) of the Commission’s rules are brought to our attention, we will consider taking enforcement
action as appropriate.
18. ARRL next takes issue with the alternative procedure for determining site-specific
extrapolation factors for BPL systems adopted in the BPL Second Order. ARRL again complains that
measurements at four points are inadequate to establish a reliable extrapolation factor.69 ARRL again
repeats its original argument that measurements should be made along the power line for each
measurement distance from that line, and that the maximum value at each distance from that line for each
frequency be used for the calculation.70 We reiterate that while we did not adopt ARRL’s suggested
procedure involving the number of measurement points along the power line,71 our new method for
(Continued from previous page)
a data connection to the home” and that “there is likely to be significant variation associated with differences in
house wiring conventions, construction techniques and materials. The results … need to be considered with this in
mind.” OFCOM report at p. 3 and 8.
64 The BPL rules require that a publicly accessible database of Access BPL systems be established for licensed users
to identify BPL operations in their area before the systems commence operation so that they have an opportunity to
alert the BPL operator of their presence before the system is activated. 47 C.F.R. § 15.615(a).
65 ARRL Petition at paras. 6-7 and Exhibit A.
66 BPL Second Order at 15761-15762, para. 101.
67 UTC comments to RFC/FNPRM at p. 8. ARRL also complains that the basis for the Commission’s reference in
para. 57, fn. 144 of the BPL Second Order at 15740 to 125 zip codes rather than the 200 that it found in the BPL
database is not explained. We note that UTC provided this number verbally to Commission staff, based on the fact
that at that time UTC was waiting for several database members to update their information, and that the number of
zip codes in operation was expected to be close to 125, once update was completed. This discrepancy is not
decisionally significant.
68 BPL Second Order at 15761-15762, para. 101.
69 ARRL Petition at para. 19.
70 Instead of making measurements at “each measurement distance” from (i.e., perpendicular to) the power line,
ARRL now slightly tweaks its original suggestion by specifying that “measurements [should be]…made at 4
horizontal distances perpendicular to the line at specified distances along the line, and the maximum value is used at
each horizontal distance is used in the calculation.” ARRL Petition at fn. 51. This is still the same measurement
principle that ARRL suggested previously. BPL Second Order at 15759-15760, para. 96 and fn. 248. This
procedure however is not what the published IEEE Standard P1775-2010 adopted, which we ultimately prescribed.
71 ARRL Petition at para. 19 and fn. 51. See also, BPL Second Order at 15760, fn. 248.
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determining site-specific extrapolation factors follows the IEEE Standard P1775-2010 that requires
measurements to be made at a minimum of four points; however, depending on the specific installation
site, this method could require measuring many more data points in order to establish a straight line with a
minimum 0.9 regression coefficient of multiple correlation.72 This multiple-point requirement and the
resultant potentially numerous measurements counter ARRL’s repeated concern that having
measurements at “only four points” is “woefully inadequate.”73 The Commission has analyzed and
rejected ARRL’s proposal in the BPL Second Order in favor of the procedure published in the IEEE
Standard P1775-2010,74 which we also noted was an improvement over current practices,75 and ARRL
makes no new arguments here.
19. ARRL further argues that since the Commission acknowledged in the BPL Second Order76
that there is variability in the attenuation of emissions from BPL systems across individual sites that are
not captured by a uniform extrapolation factor, full-time notching of amateur bands is called for.77
However, this is one of the stated reasons for which the Commission adopted the alternative procedure for
determining site-specific extrapolation factors. The Commission noted that the option to use site-specific
values can substantially alleviate the measurement concerns associated with the standard extrapolation
factor and the variability in attenuation rates that may be observed in the field, and particularly where
measurements at a site may plainly not appear to conform to the 40–dB-per-decade standard.78 We again
observe that we have addressed ARRL’s concerns with the alternative method for determining
site-specific extrapolation factors at length in the BPL Second Order,79 and ARRL makes no new
arguments here.
20. ARRL also continues to dispute the Commission’s decision to retain the existing
40-dB-per-decade value for the standard distance extrapolation factor for BPL systems.80 The
Commission discussed this issue at length in the BPL Second Order and concluded that there is no single
“correct” value for an extrapolation for RF emissions from power lines due to a multitude of reasons and
that there is no basis for changing from the longstanding 40-dB-per-decade standard.81 However, we note
that by explicitly providing that “slant-range” distance is to be used in conjunction with the extrapolation
factor when calculating the emission levels, the existing 40-dB-per-decade extrapolation factor produces
values that are closer to what ARRL calculates using what it believes to be the correct extrapolation factor
(20 dB per decade).82 Here, ARRL agrees with the Commission that the slant-range method may be a

72 BPL Second Order at 15772-15779, Appendix D. If this straight-line criteria is not satisfied, measurements must
be taken at multiple points away from the power lines until the criteria is met.
73 ARRL Petition at para. 19.
74 BPL Second Order at 15759-15761, paras. 96-100.
75 This procedure is an improvement over the current procedure for determining site-specific extrapolation factors in
Section 15.31(f)(2) of the rules, which requires only two measurement points without any specific separation
distance. 47 C.F.R. § 15.31(F)(2). See also, BPL Second Order at 15760-15761, para. 99.
76 BPL Second Order at 15733-15734, para. 43.
77 ARRL Petition at para. 18.
78 BPL Second Order at 15760, para. 98.
79 BPL Second Order at 15758-15761, paras. 93-100.
80 ARRL Petition at para. 20. BPL Second Order at 15757, para. 91.
81 BPL Second Order at 15746-15747, paras. 71-73.
82 BPL Second Order at 15741-15758, paras. 58-92. See ARRL Petition at para. 20. ARRL has submitted that the
correct extrapolation factor is close to 20 dB per decade in the region beyond the distance calculated by the formula
Wavelength/(2*Pi) from the radiating BPL system. For example, for a 2 MHz signal, this distance would be
(continued….)
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slight improvement over using horizontal distance,83 but again repeats its previous argument that radiated
emission levels above the power lines are stronger than they are at near-ground levels and contends that
BPL emission measurements should be made at the level of the power lines, not close to the ground as
specified in the BPL Measurement Guidelines because such measurement would not capture the
worst-case emissions.84 It also re-argues that NTIA recommended a 5 dB correction factor to address this
deficiency but the Commission chose not to adopt it.85 We note that the Commission disposed of the
issue regarding receive antenna height and correction factor in both the BPL First Order and BPL Second
Order
.86 ARRL did not bring any new information on reconsideration here.
21. Finally, ARRL contends that there would not be any negative effect on BPL systems if the
Commission were to implement full-time notching of amateur radio allocations to notch depths of at least
25 dB and therefore argues that its request would not be burdensome to the BPL industry.87 We do not
believe that we should require all BPL systems to permanently notch specific frequencies at a certain
notch depth just because the technology is capable of doing so. As we stated in the BPL Second Order, to
require that BPL systems permanently avoid all the amateur radio frequencies would unnecessarily
restrict BPL operations and leave unused valuable Access BPL capacity in areas/locations where no
amateur operations are present that could receive interference.88 ARRL did not bring any new
information on reconsideration here.
22. In its opposition to the Petition, Current Group LLC (Current) contends that the ARRL
Petition is largely a rehash of previous filings, and that the Commission should find that the Petition has
failed to make a prima facie case for reconsideration and summarily deny it.89 Similarly, the Edison
Electric Institute and the Utilities Telecom Council (EEI/UTC) argue that as a procedural matter, the
ARRL’s request for full-time notching of the entire amateur band has been rejected before and may not be
raised again in reconsideration of the BPL Second Order.90 The HomePlug Powerline Alliance
(HomePlug) also states that ARRL’s arguments have already been fully considered by the Commission
no less than three times in this proceeding and its Petition should be denied or dismissed pursuant to
Section 1.106(p)(3) of the Commission rules.91 As discussed, we largely agree with these oppositions and
deny the petition for reconsideration for the reasons stated above.
(Continued from previous page)
24 meters and for a 20 MHz signal, the distance would be 2.4 meters. In the BPL Second Order, the Commission
showed by graphs and calculations how the slant-range distance makes a difference in the actual extrapolation
factor, as compared to using horizontal distance with respect to using a 20 dB per decade value versus a
40 dB per decade value. BPL Second Order at 15780-15785, Appendix E.
83 ARRL Petition at para. 19. See also fn. 10, supra.
84 ARRL Petition at para. 19.
85 NTIA later determined, and the Commission agreed, that the height correction is not needed for frequencies below
30 MHz. BPL First Order at 21305, para. 96, and at 21310, para. 110.
86 BPL First Order at 21310, para. 110, BPL Second Order at 15729, para. 36 and fn. 83.
87 ARRL Petition at para. 21.
88 BPL Second Order at 15735, para. 45.
89 Current Opposition at p. 2.
90 EEI/UTC Opposition at p. 2.
91 HomePlug Opposition at p. 2. We note that Section 1.106 only deals with petitions for reconsideration in
non-rulemaking proceedings. 47 C.F.R. § 1.106. Petitions for reconsideration in rulemaking proceedings are
governed by 47 C.F.R. § 1.429. Under this provision, petitions that rely on arguments that have been fully
considered and rejected by the Commission within the same proceeding may be dismissed or denied as
appropriate. Id. § 1.429(l)(3).
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23. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to authority contained in contained in Sections 4(i),
301, 302, 303(e), 303(f), 303(r), and 405 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C.
Sections 154(i), 301, 302a, 303(e), 303(f), 303(r), 405, and Section 1.429 of the Commission’s rules, 47
C.F.R. Section 1.429, that the Petition for Reconsideration filed by ARRL IS DENIED.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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