Friday, November 07, 2008

Editorial: UK Ofcom Screws the Pooch On PLT!

This letter from the UK Office of Communications, as reprinted on the UKQRM mailing list, shows once again that the USA has no monopoly on corporate butt-saving by government regulatory agencies. This masterpiece, in fact, surpasses even the most incredible stuff churned out by our FCC, and that is no small achievement.

Whilst there is evidence that some PLT apparatus fails to meet the ETSI Harmonised Standard EN 55022, there insufficient evidence [sic] that the emissions generated are causing harmful interference, more generally, to consumers.

The actual number of complaints received by Ofcom attributed to power line telecommunications equipment remains extremely low in comparison to the number of products in use. In September 2008, Ofcom received 6 interference reports from radio enthusiasts, and this was preceded by 15 in August; prior to this, there were around 20 others. I understand that all interference cases have either been or are being resolved.

We have considered your comments regarding the Comtrend/BT product, and generic PLT equipment; and references to provisions that allow for enforcement action to be taken.

Ofcom do not consider that the current situation justifies taking enforcement action to remove PLT apparatus from the market. In making this decision, Ofcom have considered our statutory duties and functions included in the Communications Act 2003 and EMC Regulations 2006.

For enforcement action to remove PLT equipment to be considered proportionate, Ofcom would need to establish that the apparatus does not meet the EMC essential requirements and generates harmful interference.

At this time we consider a proportionate response to be, to deal with the complaints of interference received on as and when they arise on a case-by-case basis.

We do, of course, reserve the right to adapt our enforcement policy to meet with any change in the circumstances, for example, where we observe a significant increase in the number of interference cases received (where PLT emissions are proven to be excessive); or, of course, due to a change in the type of spectrum user being affected by the interference (a good example would be a service concerned with national safety and security). Naturally, we would need to consult with BERR regarding any change in our enforcement approach.


:: Clive Corrie
Investigation Policy Manager
Direct Dial: +44 (0) 121 423 5205
Mobile: +44 (0) 7711 239703

:: Ofcom
74 Ridgacre Lane
B32 1EN

By this logic, I guess a company flooding the market with baby formula known by regulators to contain poison would be within the law if only 40 or so families complained when their babies died.

Amazing, this deregulation Thang.................