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Power lines are becoming increasingly popular for high-speed communications, while at the same time reliable communications over them poses several unique challenges. Recently, two standardization bodies, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), addressed in their IEEE 1901 and ITU-T G.hn standards, respectively, both the medium access control and the physical layer specifications of power line communications. In this article, we provide an overview of these standards from the media access control technology perspective, and the similarities and dissimilarities between the IEEE 1901 and ITU-T G.hn standards are discussed, as well as potential performance issues. We use a top-down approach to analyze the features and technologies of the standards.