Icasa probes broadband over power lines

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has announced it will hold public hearings on the draft regulations governing the technical standards for power line telecommunications(PLT). The draft was published on 7 February 2008.

There has been a long debate regarding spectrum interference of PLT, and this is likely to be highlighted at the hearings scheduled for 18 and 19 June 2008.

South African Radio League member, Hans van de Groenendaal, recently questioned the suitability of PLT for large scale deployment, saying that there was little or no proof of any successful, large scale, broadband over power line deployments.

Van de Groenendaal also said that a recent test carried out by the South African Bureau of Standards, under the auspices of Icasa, at a site in Rooiwal showed significant interference on a wide range of HF frequencies.

Van de Groenendaal however said that while PLT’s future as a last-mile access medium seems doubtful, there was some potential as an internal broadband distribution medium – typically within high-rise buildings.

The hearings will take place at the Icasa offices in Sandton. Telkom, the South African Radio League, Hamnet SA, Motorola, SANDF, Eskom and SANSA are expected to make oral presentations at the hearings. The Icasa panel will consist of Councilor Mthobeli Zokwe, Praneel Ruplal, Eric Winter and Eric Nkopodi.

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