Broadband for All

Reader Terry Wellman laments: We should be clamoring for high-speed Internet access. But the United States ranks only seventh in broadband penetration.

July 2, 2004

2 Min Read
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In "Universal Broadband and/or Bust," I was disappointed to see Rob Preston include powerline technology in the broadband-distribution mix.

Radio amateurs like me have nothing against broadband per se. On the contrary, we tend to be early adopters of new technology. But we oppose systems that wreak havoc on radio communication by polluting the airwave spectrum.

BPL (Broadband over Power Line) does just that. Delivering Internet service over medium-voltage power lines, BPL systems generally operate in the 1.7-MHz to 80-MHz frequency range--a range shared by a host of radio systems, including those used by the Amateur Radio Service, international broadcasters, aeronautical and maritime personnel, the military, and police and fire departments.

Overhead electrical power lines and residential wiring act as antennas that unintentionally radiate the broadband signals as radio signals along roads and throughout neighborhoods. Interference has been observed as far as a mile away from the nearest BPL source.

I favor making broadband accessible to all Americans, but BPL isn't the way to go. Cable, DSL, fiber-to-the-home and wireless offer ways of achieving that goal without interfering with radio.Michael G. Muldoon
District Emergency Coordinator
American Radio Relay League
[email protected]

IT Twins

I appreciated reading Hunter Metatek's "Forced March" column (June 10, 2004). Change the names and the type of system being deployed, and it's like reading about our own IT department.

Although the column won't end this sort of "I'm an idiot, therefore I must make important decisions for you" behavior, it's nice to know there's someone else going through the same kind of nonsense.Chad Brogan
PC Technician
Employer and e-mail address withheld by request

Correction

In the "Accuracy Test Results" chart of "Taking a Bite Out of Spam" (May 13, 2004), we inadvertently switched the "Nonweighted accuracy" and "Weighted accuracy" columns for the products that didn't make the cut.

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