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National Energy Markers Association. Advanced Energy and Power Line Technologies Commissioner Laura Chappelle Michigan Public Service Commission March 31, 2004. Broadband over the Power Lines (BPL). Promising, new technology. Potential for ubiquitous, affordable service.

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national energy markers association

National Energy Markers Association

Advanced Energy and Power Line Technologies

Commissioner Laura Chappelle

Michigan Public Service Commission

March 31, 2004

broadband over the power lines bpl
Broadband over the Power Lines (BPL)
  • Promising, new technology.
  • Potential for ubiquitous, affordable service.
  • Wires are already there.
  • Third mode of BB access to homes/bus.
  • Close the BB gap: U.S./foreign countries.
  • Means of service to rural, underserved areas.
description of bpl
Description of BPL
  • Non-technical definition: BPL uses power lines to transmit digital data in addition to electricity.
  • Every electric distribution line has the potential to provide a last-mile BB connection to homes/businesses served by electric utilities
  • FCC description:
    • “couple(s) (radio frequency) energy onto the existing electric power lines to provide high-speed communications capabilities.” (ET Docket No. 03-104, ET Docket No. 07-37)
  • Transfers digital data from fiber optic nodes to medium-voltage lines
  • The digital signal reaches the Internet end-user, either through an electrical outlet or short wireless link from a nearby electric pole
diagram from brett kilbourne presentation united powerline council

PLC Network

Diagram from Brett Kilbourne Presentation. United Powerline Council

Fiber backhauls to the POP

Powerline-fiber interface at substation

Customer plugs modem into any outlet

Bypass or Wi-Fi at transformer

naruc task force
NARUC Task Force
  • Convened in January, 2004
  • PUC members:
    • Commissioner Laura Chappelle (chair; Michigan)
    • Commissioner Bob Nelson
    • Commissioner Julie Parsley (Texas)
    • Commissioner Thomas Dunleavy (New York)
    • President Tony Clark (North Dakota)
    • Chairman Denise Bode (Oklahoma)
    • Commissioner Connie Hughes (New Jersey)
    • David Tobenkin (FERC)
    • Rodger Woock (FCC)
    • Chuck Gray, Brad Ramsey, Brian Atkins (NARUC)
naruc s bpl task force
NARUC’s BPL Task Force
  • Preliminary stages – information gathering.
  • Eventual objective – explore opportunities for state regulators to become involved:
    • How can we, as states, encourage a promising technology?
  • Open to suggestions of others, including NEMA and its membership.
why are state commissions seeking to address bpl
Why are state commissions seeking to address BPL?
  • Answer: There is a public interest in making broadband widely available.
    • BPL presents economic and educational opportunities.
  • Internet: prospered, government left it alone.
    • But, Internet rode the back of the public switched telephone network with the encouragement of state regulators.
    • Still uses telecom. Services that are at least partially regulated.
    • Role for government to nuture promising technologies(?)
policy issues
Policy Issues
  • Technology
    • Examine the state of BPL technology as a guide to assessing its implications for state regulators.
  • Security
    • Interference w/other authorized users of radio frequencies.
    • FCC’s recent NOPR suggests that the proposed rules will resolve the interference concerns, but this is controversial
  • Regulatory
    • Cost recovery and revenues
    • Should cross-subsidization be allowed (or encouraged?)
    • Pole attachments
    • Universal Service funding.
    • Municipal Providers.
concluding thoughts
Concluding Thoughts
  • Is there a role for regulators?
  • Is there a role for non-utility marketers?
  • Electric utilities’ business models may invite partnerships.
    • Many electric utilities do not want to become communications companies.
    • Task of managing customer relationships with a BPL-based Internet service.