Big Power Company vs.Canopy WISP A cry for help..

This story has been told a thousand times on here by other providers, but quite frankly WE NEED HELP...

The regional power company has recently piled hundreds (if not thousands) of 900Mhz FHSS radios in our region within a close proximity to our towers and our once squeeky clean 905-928Mhz is not completely trashed and hundreds of our customers are now not even able to connect to the towers. 

Over the past several years we have installed Ubiquiti 2.4 and have recently started installing Cambium ePmp 2.4 APs and have migrated a good number of customers off of 900, but there are quite a few that remin on 900 because it was the only way we could get them service.

We have reached out and they have put on a nice front, but they have done very little to actually mitigate the issues.

My quesions are as follows.

Has anyone actually succesfully coordinated frequencies with the "Big Power"?  Is there any reasonable way to put pressure on them to comply??

Barring a $35,000 investment into Wimax or LTE has anyone found a solution in 2, 5 or 365 that compares to 900??

I'm not a petty person, but my only recourse at this point is going to the local news stations and smearing smart meters with un warrented claims about radiation and adverse health concernes... Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know my 900Mhz network is basically doomed and I don't really need any help reinforcing that. Just let me know if anyone out there has had any luck with a similar situation.

Thanks in advance

we had a problem with our local power company until we had a mutual major interference problem… we finally worked out a spectrum agreement with them and filed to be a CLEC, afterword’s we got a contract to start using the power poles to mount 5ghz epmp CPEs and a few synced 2.4 omnis on them to abandon the 900 spec mostly. it worked out nicely for the end users, getting much higher data rates and let us and big power play nicely together.


Have you tried contacting them and seeing if they would be willing to only use one polarity and you use the other?  This would allow you to have 3 channels and they would also have 3 channels to operate/coordinate in.  Even if you had to retrofit your AP's with new antennas and touch each customer to adjust their yagi's this would be much cheaper than a WiMAX/LTE upgrade.

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Isaac, I've run into similar situations in Northern Wisconsin.

Major power distribution company and a seperate metering company, Sensus.

On the first, we vacated one tower site, of which we had no customers anyway after several years, but the latter posed a different issue as we were co-located on a municipal W/T along with the municipality's Sensus equipment which reads the resident's electric meters via a licensed radio system in the upper 890 Mhz band. 

In that instance, we voluntarily vacated 900 use to make all parties happy as we had existing 2.4 and 5 Ghz active deployments in play. I had strained discussions as the Sensus contractor used his freq counter to show me that we were close and could be detrimental. Although I lost a few 900 customers, everyone's concerns were addressed and 2 of the 3 in the party remained happy.

Unless you can show data from spectrum analysis and apply directionally with an Ap, or manage thru channel width, I would say your options are to stand your ground based on data, re-adjust the deployment thru another micro-site on another band which can get LOS to your customer or vacate while you both agree that the utility will offset your business loss by compensation as a discount from one of your energy bills.  

If I was a nasty person, I would suggest you try and find some analog 900mhz video senders and put them up around the place. Analog devices will kill digital signals.

But basically you are screwed.

If you can convince them to only read data between 3am and 5am you should be okay, but otherwise you may have to threaten them you will begin deploying frequency hopping spread spectrum which will interfere with their system unless you can work out some sort of mutual interference mitigation plan.

The first step though is approaching them and talking to their technical guys about it.

I am not sure how it works in your country but in NZ we can remind them they may accept interference, but they may not cause it. We can also inform them they are only legally allowed to transmit at the minimum power level required to maintain communications - no higher.

You shoudl also do some research on the make and model of smart meter - approach the manufacturer and find out what you can about the power companies options such as selective frequencies. Do they need to be using the whole band? Can they select or notch their equipment to only use certain frequencies? Can they run the data collection at certain times of the day?

If you already have the answers, it will be harder for them to argue and say it cant be done.

After that, if they are still not willing to work with you, then the muck smearing can begin in the local newspaper - the bad publicity shoudl get the power company back in line and to start behaving. You might not necessarily need to smear ill health over the smart meters because your radios also use the same frequencies, but the general population will consider internet access more important than all-day-long smart meter gathering when you can take facts like "data can be collected between 4am and 5am" to the news.

From a technical perspective, the network with the lower data rate will win. And they probably work in speeds you can still measure in bits per second or kilobits per second.

We unfortunately ran into the same issue. And at the same time our local water department deployed some 900mhz equipment around our largest cluster of 900 MHz equipment. They soon realized that their equipment wouldn't work due to interference, and things started to get heated. I wasn't with the company at the time, but from what I've heard the city was somewhat unwilling to workout a peaceful resolution anything short of us shutting our equipment off.

Even more unfortunately months later a major storm came through and our tower was blasted with sustained 150 mile an hour winds long enough to fold it over and put it in the street. The tower happened to be the central hub of our network, and had a vast majority of our customers on it. After some time it was decided that we should rebuild the tower bigger and stronger than before. HOWEVER, the city wouldn't zone it (wonder why..), and then they wouldn't even zone it to be rebuilt to it's previous height. SO after cutting 40' of bent metal out of the tower and having it welded back together we no longer had the height to reach many previous LOS customers and had to switch them to 900 that had frequent reg problems, and customers who were already were on 900 were pretty much left high and dry without 90' towers at their residence. 

That was three years ago and is the reason we recently invested so heavily into PMP450 3.65 equipment. We do still have many customers on other towers throughout the county running on 900 MHz that operate pretty well still thankfully. However, because of our experience at the network hub we're very hesitant to invest heavily in the PMP450i 900 MHz equipment despite some of the incredible stories I've read on that particular forum. 

Overall, with the use of many tripods, poles, towers, and reflectors we have recently been able to reacquire many of the customers we lost on 900 with the new PMP 450 3.65 equipment. Now we have to worry much less about interference, and our customers are getting much more data then before. However, I fear the customers that are too rural, or too buried in trees that are on 900 are going to start dissapearing regardless of interferance due to the ever increasing demand for streaming capabilities. Which the 100 series just can't really offer if you have more than a few people trying to do it at the same time. 

Disclaimer: I was not with the company at the time disagreements with the city arose, and it's more than entirely possible one or both parties were far from diplomatic, and perhaps if handled better we wouldn't be in the predicament we are. 

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I'm wondering if the fairly new designation of internet service in the USA as a utility can be leveraged to our benefit in these situations...  Are there applicable laws regarding interfering with the delivery of a utility?


Perhaps, but I'm not sure they would supersede the laws regarding the use of 900 MHz. Although, perhaps now, it could help us get the taller tower we wanted, but at this point it's somewhat moot.