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In 2005 the IEEE P1901 Working Group began standardization activities for broadband over power line networks. The process is now in its final stages, and the latest P1901 draft standard is available for sale to the public. The standard is designed to meet both in-home multimedia and utility application requirements including smart grid. The utility requirements and the resulting features that support those requirements were clustered together and form the basis of what is referred to as the utility access cluster. This article explains the aspects of P1901 power line communication technologies designed to address the access cluster. The differences between access and in-home applications, including addressing methods, clock synchronization, smart repetition, quality of service, power saving, and other access unique mechanisms, are also explained.