Feeds

Ofcom fails to sweep away power-line networking

Radio Society notices bump in carpet

High performance access to file storage

Ofcom's latest update on power-line networking is "dismissive", "inaccurate" and "fails to respond to complaints" according to the Radio Society, who just won't let the matter lie.

Ofcom recently updated its position on power-line networking, an update that focuses on how much the regulator is doing to address a tiny problem experienced by only a few people. However, that approach has riled the Radio Society of Great Britain, whose own complaint about the matter has been roundly ignored by the regulator.

The issue is interference generated by power-line networking kit, specifically Comtrend boxes supplied as part of BT's Vision service. Comtrend and Ofcom reckon the kit has passed the appropriate EU certifications, whereas the Radio Society contends that the Comtrend boxes only passed a draft version of one specification and fail to conform to another entirely. This would theoretically mean they cannot legally be supplied in the UK - regardless of any generated interference.

It's certainly true that the problem doesn’t affect a lot of people: Ofcom reckons it's only received 143 complaints - all of which came from radio amateurs - of which 104 have been resolved. Ofcom's statement also rather snootily observes that other users in the same band, such as the MOD and long range oceanic communications, haven't complained at all.

That could be down to the lack of military and maritime activity that takes place near the houses of BT Vision customers, or perhaps because Ham Radio operators work at much lower tolerances than most radio users. Whatever the reason, the clear inference from Ofcom is that the Ham Radio crowd likes making trouble.

The regulator does admit that power-line kit can generate interference, but claims that can be attributed to "the manner in which it is installed or operated", and that it will be examining the issue further by working with the Radio Society.

The Radio Society is pleased to hear it will be involved, but would have appreciated some sort of notice. The Society would also like a response to the letter it sent to Ofcom in July explaining, at some length (pdf), exactly how the Comtrend boxes don't even pretend to have passed proper certification and exceed legally-required emission levels.

The problem may not be affecting a lot of people, but if the equipment doesn't conform to the required standards then it might seem that even one complaint should be enough to stop the it being sold. If not, then it would seem pointless having the standards in the first place.

Or perhaps such standards only apply to small companies when their products impact lots of people, while large companies upsetting small groups of people can safely ignore the rules. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.