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Letter to Senator Cantwell on BPL

A chance for Washington Hams to aid in the BPL fight

Dear ARRL Member in Washington,

We need your help in our ongoing fight against Broadband over Power
Line (BPL) interference. As you may have heard, the ARRL was successful
in obtaining language in a U.S. House of Representatives bill, HR 5252,
requiring that the FCC study and report on the interference potential
of BPL systems. The bill was adopted by the House Commerce Committee
and will be on its way to the House floor for a vote shortly.

Now we must turn our attention to the Senate, where similar language is
needed. Senator Maria Cantwell is a member of the Senate Committee on
Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which is now holding hearings on
telecommunications legislation. We need her support of language
addressing the BPL interference issue when the Senate bill is marked up
in the committee on June 8.

Please write to her today. A sample letter follows. Please personalize
it as much as you can and send it, preferably by FAX to the number
shown. Please also send a copy to the ARRL's Government Relations

Attention: Eric Heis, KI4NFC
Chwat & Company, Inc.
625 Slaters Lane, Suite 103
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax (703) 684-7594

If you can't send it by FAX, use regular mail - but please BE SURE to
mail a copy to Eric Heis so he can hand carry it to the Hill. Regular
mail to members of Congress is seriously delayed. Email is not
recommended for this particular project.

Thank you for your assistance and support. If you want to email me in
reply to this message, please use the email address shown below.


Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF
Director, Northwestern Division
ARRL - The National Association for Amateur Radio



Honorable Maria Cantwell
United States Senate
717 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Via FAX 202-228-0514

Dear Senator Cantwell,

I am writing as one of the more than 25,000 federally licensed radio
amateurs of Washington to request your help with legislation in the
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. During the June
8th markup of S. 2686, the Communications, Consumer's Choice, and
Broadband Deployment Act of 2006, please support an amendment directing
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a comprehensive
study of the potential of "broadband over power line" (BPL) systems to
interfere with public safety and other licensed radio services.
Appropriate language drafted by the ARRL, the national association for
Amateur Radio, reads:

"Within 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the
Federal Communications Commission shall conduct, and submit to the
House Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation, a study of the interference potential of
broadband over power line systems leading to improved rules to prevent
the deployment of systems having a potential to cause destructive
interference to radio communication systems."

A similar requirement that the FCC study and report on the interference
potential of BPL systems is included in HR 5252 as reported out of the
House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

BPL utilizes electric power lines to serve as the conductors of the
broadband signals. Unfortunately, because the power lines are not
shielded, they also act as antennas and radiate the signals into the
air. These radiated signals will interfere with radio receivers tuned
to the same frequency range. BPL has only been deployed to a very
limited extent, but Amateur Radio already is experiencing severe BPL
interference that the FCC has been unable or unwilling to correct.
Unlike BPL, other methods of providing broadband Internet services to
consumers, such as cable, DSL, wireless, satellite and Fiber to the
Home, do not pollute the radio spectrum.

Not all BPL systems cause widespread interference to radio. The problem
is that the FCC rules do not distinguish between BPL systems with a
high potential for interference and those that are more benign. The FCC
allows both kinds of systems to be deployed. This places an
unreasonable burden on radio users, who must deal with the consequences
of the interference. It is also unfair to the responsible BPL companies
that have addressed the interference issue effectively but must compete
with the spectrum polluters.

The reason we need your help is that the FCC continues to resist
growing evidence that its rules are inadequate to protect
radiocommunication systems, including those relied upon by First
Responders, from radio spectrum pollution caused by BPL systems. The
FCC needs to objectively and carefully review this evidence and adopt
rules that will keep interference from BPL within reasonable bounds.
Unfortunately, not only has the FCC shown no inclination to do that,
the agency so far has failed even to enforce its existing rules in
specific, well documented instances of harmful interference.

Because we need no infrastructure in order to communicate, the Amateur
Radio Service is the only 100-percent fail-safe emergency
communications resource in the world. The importance of this capability
is documented on page 177 of the recent report of the Select Bipartisan
Committee of the House of Representatives, "A Failure of Initiative,"
on Hurricane Katrina. Amateur Radio is included in the list of "What
Went Right" in the White House report, "The Federal Response to
Katrina: Lessons Learned." Amateur Radio is one of the few
communications services that succeeded in Katrina's aftermath.
Interference from BPL emissions will significantly disrupt this unique

Please require the FCC to protect radio services from BPL interference.
Thousands of radio amateurs will be grateful for your support.


___________[CITY, STATE, ZIP]

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: James Fenstermaker, K9JF