BPL service moves forward in Virginia

A broadband-over-power-line (BPL) network is growing in Manassas, Virginia and should reach 1,000 customers by early summer, the BPL service provider said Friday.

Communication Technologies (COMTek), in Chantilly, Virginia, said it has about 600 homes and small businesses already using the service. Home-based BPL service costs US$28.95 a month, US$39.95 a month for a businesses, and offers up to 3.5Mbps download speeds.

The emerging technology faced opposition from an amateur radio user in Manassas who filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about interference from the BPL network.

However, COMTek filed a response with the FCC yesterday citing an independent testing lab's findings that no interference could found on certain ham radio frequencies that could be attributed to BPL.

COMTek said it had "notched" all of its 600 BPL devices in mid-January to prevent interference, meaning it turned off the ability of the BPL devices to use certain frequencies preferred by amateur radio users.

COMTek also said today it plans to upgrade all of its devices -- as well as new ones coming online -- to second-generation technology that will further reduce the possibility of interference.

BPL operates via a radio signal sent along a power line.

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