PLC/BPL Pilot!

Hobart, Tasmania!!!


IT HAS BEGUN!!!!!!!!!!!

First Official Australian Large Scale PLC/BPL Trial in Hobart, Tasmania!!!

As of November 2007 the Tasmanian BPL system has been closed down, officially because of cost pressures, however un-officially, other reasons are also believed to be involved. This page will remain for future reference.

From Justin Giles-Clark, Sunday, 18 September 2005

As heard on the VK7 Regional News Broadcast this morning the VK7 Aurora trial commenced last week!

It was launched on the 14th & 15th September 2005 with newspaper articles, talk-back radio segments and much promotion of this "technology to get broadband to the masses".

What we know thus far about the trial: -
a. The roll-out appears to be focussed on Tolmans Hill which has all underground services.
b. There is also obvious BPL infrastructure that has been installed in Mt Nelson and Lenah Valley and interference has been measured in Mt Nelson over the past few weeks. (see
website for photo references).
c. The trial timeframe is between 9-12 months and will involve 500 users.
d. Aurora is using it's telecommunication arm - Tastel to sell and promote the broadband products that will be carried by the BPL technology. It's success will be judged on the number of subscribers that Tastel can attract.
e. Aurora has partnered with the Japanese company Mitsubishi Electric who is supplying the hardware, modems, couplers, repeaters, injectors, etc.
Interesting to note that BPL has been banned in Japan!
f. It is Mitsubishi's first commercial trial of its technology;

What the media is reporting:
a. In the Examiner on the 14th of September 2005 the report included comment about the interference causing potential and the Aurora CEO made the statement - "The signal would be notched so as not to share frequencies with other users", I wonder if this means the amateur bands?
b. In the Examiner on the 15th of September 2005 NTARC raised concern over the BPL technology and Hugh Milloy from the ACMA stated "that the technology still had the potential to interfere with amateur radio users and people who listen to short-wave overseas radio". Adrian Wild - Aurora's Corporate Affairs Manager responded saying "the trial would help Aurora ensure that BPL did not create unreasonable interference". This is supported in the report in the Advocate on the 14th where the Aurora CEO stated "Aurora would work with Tasmanian radio operators to sort out problems.";
c. ABC talk-back radio have separately interviewed the BPL Project Manager and CEO and a number of VK7 radio amateurs contributed comment about the interference potential to the CEO interview with ABC announcer Tim Cox;
Updates to the
REAST BPL watch page include:
a.. Sound files from tuning across the 15m band and tuning across the 20m band in from Mt Nelson last week.
b.. The Tasmanian newspaper articles that have been appearing around the state over the last week.
c.. Links to media programs, references, etc in relation to the launch.

We have taken measurements of the interference and are in close contact with the WIA BPL working group on how best to tackle this challenge. Our best strategy at this point is to stay vigilant both with eyes on the poles and ears on the HF bands.

Are you experiencing interference?

If you believe you are being affected by BPL interference we suggest you take a listen to the sound files that are available on the REAST website.

If these match the type of interference you are experiencing, and you wish to make a complaint then contact the Aurora Energy, BPL Project Manager, Piero Peroni on Telephone: (03) 6237 3134 or Email: and report the interference and report the interference to the ACMA Regional Office in Melbourne on Telephone: 1300 850 115 or Email:

If you haven't already we encourage all amateurs and interested people to take a look at the REAST website and familiarize yourself with BPL technology, what it sounds like on the air and what it looks like on the poles.

If you are experiencing BPL interference then we encourage you to make a complaint to Aurora Energy and the ACMA.

If you require assistance with making a complaint then please contact myself or a REAST Committee member.

We are currently developing pro forma letters which will be made available to amateurs to inform their state and federal politicians of what is going on and get it onto their radar. These will be distributed very soon.

If you see or hear anything that may be of interest please let me know.

73, Justin, VK7TW
73 de VK7TW Justin Giles-Clark
President Radio and Electronics Association
of Southern Tasmania

First Official Australian PLC/BPL Pilot in Hobart, Tasmania!!!

Information from the 18 and 25 April 2004 issue of QNEWS and also the WIA VK7 Division Weekly Broadcast from Sunday 9th May 2004 (via VK7TW and VK4BAT)

Justin, VK7TW, Southern Branch President says Aurora Energy (A Tasmanian Power Company) is in the process of implementing a small pilot of PLC by providing broadband internet to 4 houses and to the 1st and 2nd floors of the Aurora office building.

Aurora Energy has implemented the system to better understand the technology and its potential to support commercial services.

The system uses the DS2 chipset which utilises Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) - with multiple discreet carriers approximately every 1.1 kHz between about
1.6MHz and 30MHz.

The system that has been installed allows for certain frequencies to be removed from the range of spread spectrum frequencies used. Theoretically allowing the filtering out of the amateur HF frequencies. The OFDM technique is also utilised by many Wireless LAN systems that operate on 2.4GHz.

Multiple carriers can usually be heard on the 40 and 20 metre band in the form the system is normally configured. The signal should sound like multiple carriers as you tune across the band that are approximately 5kHz apart. When the system is idle you will hear a click, click approximately every second.

Mitsubishi engineers from Japan say the pilot will run for two months after installation which has just been completed.

VK7TW says the VK7 Southern Branch is attempting to get a site visit to look over the installation of BPL equipment and quiz the engineers on the technology.

In the mean while please keep your ear out for BPL/PLC type interference on the HF bands. Keep a log of the interference that includes time/date/band/strength etc.

First Official Australian PLC/BPL Pilot in Hobart, Tasmania: More Information!
Last Wednesday night (5 May 2004) six amateurs were privileged to have attended the Aurora Energy building in Kirksway Place to hear about the small BPL trial that is currently being undertaken by Aurora Energy.

A presentation was given by Piero Peroni, who is the Business Manager for the BPL trial within Aurora Energy and Adrian Wild who is the Corporate Affairs Manager within Aurora Energy.

After the presentation an open, frank and positive discussion was held where, we expressed our concern about BPL technology and Aurora expressed their reasons for trialing the technology. Aurora was happy to keep us informed about developments, futures trials, etc.

We expressed our disappointment in the limited trial and they acknowledged the limitations and that this trial is not the decision maker for their BPL business case. They are also investigating wireless technologies and fibre optics as strategies for delivering the last mile of broadband to consumer and have not made their mind up on any of them as yet.

They passed on some presentations from an international conference they recently attended on PLC as well as the presentation they gave. These documents will be available in the Domain clubrooms for perusal. We then saw the boxes that connect the
PC network card (32 Kb jpg photo) to the power socket and also inside the switchboard where there is a switchboard distribution box. Pictures of these boxes are here (10 Kb jpg photo).

Martin, VK7GN gave us a audible demonstration of the interference on his
portable HF receiver (26 Kb jpg photo) and I think the Corporate Affairs Manager was quietly horrified at the noise!

We are hoping to try and arrange a meeting with the Mitsubishi engineers when they return at the end of the trial.

Just a reminder, please keep your ear out for BPL/PLC type interference on the HF bands and keep a log of the interference that includes time/date/band/strength, and if possible record it. Here's a
sound file (114 Kb wav) of the BPL trial in all it's horrific splendour made by Eric, VK7TAS.

As of June 2004 this test is now completed.

Aurora Energy will analyze the findings to see if BPL will be fully rolled out!

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