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Virginia city launches city-wide BPL network

Oct 14, 2005 4:47 PM

Communications Technologies (COMTek) announced that it has deployed a city-wide broadband-over-powerline network in Manassas, Va., a 37,000-person suburb outside Washington. The utility said about 12,500 households are within reach of the network--which also is capable of serving 2500 businesses throughout the city--and that it already has 700 subscribers, with an additional 500 requests for service.

COMTek CEO Joseph Fergus said in a statement that the utility is committed to expanding its BPL services. “[This] is something that we could be rolling out in a year or two from now in literally scores of communities across the U.S.,” Fergus said. “The Manassas experiment is a good thing for every American who lives in any city or town with little or no access to affordable broadband.”

The FCC approved rules for BPL technologies--which use the nation’s power grid to deliver broadband connectivity--in October of last year. The amateur radio community, led by ARRL-formerly known as the American Radio Relay League-has expressed concern that BPL interference could be harmful to ham operations. A House resolution introduced in June 2005 sponsored by Rep. Mike Ross (D, Ark.)-one of two amateur-radio operators in Congress-asked the FCC to “reconsider and review” its BPL interference policies.

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