The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Pat Wood, together with chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Michael Powell, have issued a statement supporting the development of broadband over powerlines (BPL) as a communications medium. The statement acknowledges BPL’s potential to provide competitive choice for consumers and improve power supply system reliability.

There are still problems to overcome. Amateur radio users in particular say BPL causes too much ‘noise’ and therefore interference on the lines, and the question of rules and standards for the technology still has to be settled. Recent research, however, indicates that as much as one-third of utilities surveyed in the US are either using or considering the use of BPL communications. Endorsement by the FERC and the FCC could see this number increase in future.