BPL Interference Information:
PowerLine adapters near you
the fist thing to do is contact Ofcom, the spectrum regulator. Ofcom
should instigate an investigation to find and remove the source of the
interference. This has happened in many cases so far.
Perhaps if Ofcom have to
investigate too many PLT / BT HomePlug
cases, the time and money that they are wasting in doing so may prompt
them into thinking about outlawing these terrible devices!
the Top ^
2a Southwark Bridge Road
If you want to complain to Ofcom please call 020 7981 3040 or
0300 123 3333.
Switchboard: 020 7981 3000 or 0300 123 3000
Fax: 020 7981 3333
Why Are Maplin Selling Illegal PLT Home Plug Devices from Netgear,
Belkin and Devolo
- & Do They Even Realise The Consequences?
An excellent question from
Kit, GM4EMX to the UKQRM Forum http://www.ukqrm.org
I have really been focused
and maybe a bit blinkered on just thinking BT Vision and the BT
However I had a a few
minutes in my busy weekend (like us all never seems to be enough hours
in the day). I popped into Maplins here in Aberdeen. I was surprised to
realise how many PLA's on sale Develo, Belkin, Netgear and so on.
Also there present advert
along the lines of "Why use Wireless with all its problems for routing
your data - switch to a PLA. Set up in minutes with no problems" words
to that effect!
So I asked to see the
manager and politely explained I was not there to cause trouble. Nor to
get him into trouble with his area manager etc.. But that I would like
to point out some facts about the PLA's he was selling:
* PLT causes interference
to the SW spectrum.
* PTL is a conflict of
interest with the Shortwave receivers and CB equipment that he was also
selling in the store.
* Was he aware of what and
how PLAs worked ?
Plus a few other points
relevant to us all. He was very interested and said head office had not
told him anything and he
was not aware of what I
was advising him.
I asked if I could pop
back later with some literature (the ones that where posted on this
group to hand out to neighbours). He said by all means, and this was
duly done the next day. He was taken aback by what he read and
disappeared into his office. He
I am sure we are all doing
our bit? I now intend to visit Comet, PC World and Curry's outlets in
the coming weeks here in Aberdeen.
(DA2WN, G4EMX, G4EMX/PA, MP4BHT, MP4TCR,)
Supporting UKQRM working
group, please visit http://www.ukqrm.org
RSARS (Royal Signals Amateur Radio Society)
GGA (Grenadier Guards Association)
RSA (Royal Signals Association)
AFSA (Air Formation Signals Association)
GMDX; RSGB; Aberdeen ARC
How this has been allowed to happen?
would point out the threat of severe or insurmountable levels of radio
interference to the H.F. / short wave band from BPL / Home Plug
Adapters that face the various radio users of the band. I would add
that the H.F. band is allocated to, amongst others, CB Radio,
International Radio broadcasting, Amateur Radio, Aircraft
Communications and Military Communications.
2 - I would term the interference caused by BPL / Home Plug Adapters as
"Spectrum Abuse" because the devices do not use one discrete narrow
band frequency - as a normal radio transmitter would - but whole
swathes of, almost indiscriminate, wide band modulation across the HF
band from 2MHz to 30 MHz. - If any other licensed radio operator or
radio service caused this level of interference, Ofcom would require
the transmitter / station to be closed down. It appears that the
enforced removal of BPL interference by Ofcom might not be possible as
it would otherwise be for any other transmitting station.
3 - Considering that Ofcom are, at present at least, investigating
interference to users of the HF band by BPL adapters what, if any real
action can the authorities take against the owners and users of such
devices? Do Ofcom have any actual powers, or is it the case that they
can merely request that the owner removes the BPL device, and if the
user refuses to do so then no further action can be taken?
4 - I would want to know, considering that the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Administrative Radio
Conferences (WARC) carefully plan the use of the radio bands, why and
how manufacturers of BPL / Home Plug Adapters can suddenly dictate that
they will use the whole of the H.F. spectrum from 2MHz to 30MHz causing
severe interference to any nearby radio users?
5 - I would also like to know if the sale of BPL / Home Plug devices
has been forced upon the UK by big business interests and/or has this
been forced upon the UK by dictate from the European Parliament in
Brussels, and does our government have any power over this matter; if
it does, then can or would the government consider outlawing BPL / Home
6 - I would probably also say something about BT's role in the matter.
BT used to be the enforcers of the radio spectrum's use and as such
would remove sources of interference. It now seems that the tables have
been completely turned and that BT and their own home plug adapters are
the cause of radio interference and spectrum abuse.
Additionally several other types of BPL adapter are now being widely
marketed to the general public by many well known retailers such as
Maplin, Argos, PC World and many, if not most, other computer retailers.
The general public is, of course, largely ignorant to the facts
surrounding BPL / Home Plug devices and entirely unaware of the
spectrum abuse problems that are being unleashed, slowly but surely,
across the land. Click - MORE
WRITE TO YOUR MP and MEP
How to find your local MP:
Postal address to send letters to your MP:
How to find your MEP's, Councillors, MP, MSPs, or
Northern Ireland, Welsh and London AMs :
Postal Address for MEP's:
rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
BRUXELLES / BRUSSEL
Southwark Bridge Road
Department Of Culture Media an Sport
for Culture Media & Sport
WHAT THE RSGB IS DOING
Radio Society of Great Britain
Is BT Going To Do About This Interference
Head of Sustainable Development and Corporate Accountability
TO THESE MAGAZINES
(Letters To The Editor)
Why Ofcom is not fit for purpose
- The PLT issue
- the staff and engineers of Ofcom are, without any doubt, excellent
people who are unquestionably helpful and professional. The problem with
Ofcom is not their excellent staff, it's the structure and remit of the
organization created by Government and its Chief Executive. Ofcom's
primary function, it appears, is to maximise the amount of money made
for the Exchequer, rather than to instill technical excellence.
Text in blue are quotations from
the OFCOM document 2.9.2009.
Ofcom’s PLT statement of 2nd
September this year
(www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/ifi/enforcement/plt/) is a
prime example of why it is not fit for purpose as a spectrum regulator
and protector. Almost every line contains things that are economical
with the truth, irrelevant, or spin – that is, when they are not
blatant misdirection, or just plain insulting. Let’s look at a few
quotes from it....
“Ofcom has exercised its enforcement functions under the EMC
Regulations. Ofcom has investigated alleged breaches of
the EMC regulations resulting from the
supply of Comtrend PLT apparatus by BT...... On the evidence,
Ofcom has not so far found
that there is a breach of the EMC essential
requirements. Ofcom has therefore decided against
taking further enforcement action at this time”
But what “evidence” are they talking about? Of the technical evidence
submitted in formal complaints by the UKQRM group (www.ukqrm.org)
and by the RSGB, Ofcom has refused
to respond to any of it.
By all accounts Ofcom has
undertaken no technical tests or examined
the Comtrend PLT devices (the ones
that are the subject of all Ofcom’s
complaints of interference from PLT devices)
against the points made in these complaints.
The RSGB’s complaint (published on
their website, www.rsgb.org) was made on 31 July, just four weeks
before Ofcom’s PLT statement. That’s hardly sufficient time for them to
consider the evidence in detail and then write their response, if they
could actually have been bothered to do so. Which they weren’t.
Indeed, their response does not even mention the two central points of
a) Comtrend’s PLT products emit conducted noise at levels way
above the limits in EN55022, the most relevant EMC product standard
b) They rely for their EMC Declaration of Conformity on a
discredited CISPR committee draft (CISPR/I/89) – simply a committee
paper – never a published standard – which anyway was withdrawn several
Either of these plain and obvious facts should be enough to have their
products immediately withdrawn from the entire EU market. That Ofcom
have not done so brings the whole process of Single Market Compliance
and CE marking into disrepute.
past 12 months Ofcom has received
143 individual PLT interference complaints; all from radio
enthusiasts... There are many other users of the HF Band
including long range aeronautical and
oceanic communications, the Ministry of
Defence and international broadcasters. Ofcom
has not received complaints of interference to these
Ofcom are apparently suggesting that complaints from radio enthusiasts
are not as important as those from professional radio users. Would
Ofcom have acted differently if there had been complaints
from the professionals? The EMC Directive
and the UK’s corresponding 2006 EMC
Regulations do not discriminate in this
way, and in fact the EMC
Directive’s Recitals make it clear that Member States must actually
protect amateur radio from “electromagnetic disturbance”.
Although professional radio users may not have complained of
interference from PLT yet, you can be sure that they have been telling
Ofcom how worried they are that it may happen!
As for being economical with the truth, Ofcom’s statement just
happens not to mention that the total number of complaints they
have received about
PLT interference, in just over a year, is already
their 4th highest after complaints
about lighting equipment; thermostats and aerial pre-amps which
have been accumulating for several years.
Their statement also just happens not to mention that the rate at which
they are receiving complaints of interference from PLT is far higher,
per million units
sold, than from any other technology.
complaints received and the evidence so far obtained, Ofcom has
concluded that there does not at present appear to be significant
public harm arising from this situation.”
Perhaps Ofcom could point to the
place in the 2006 EMC Regulations
where it says that the number
of interference complaints are a factor in determining whether
something meets the Essential Requirements or not? And perhaps
they could also point to the place where it says that professional radio
users are more important than mere enthusiasts?
And where does the test of
“significant public harm”
arise in the EMC
Regulations? None of these issues exist anywhere other than
in the fevered brains of Ofcom’s
spin-doctors, who hope to convey the impression that they have some
meaning – some relevance to the issue of interference from PLT, which
of course they do not.
Ofcom has managed to get BT
to sort out many of the 143
reported problems with Comtrend PLT products. (BT sell the Comtrend
devices bundled with their “BT Vision” product, so that customers don’t
have to trail Ethernet cables from room to room, causing unsightly
lumps in the carpets).
But the point is that the interference complaints are caused by the
fact that these PLT products have a non-EMC-compliant design. If the
PLT devices were compliant in the first place, they would most likely
not have caused any interference.
“It is recognised that
EMC compliant equipment may still, in certain circumstances, have the
capacity to cause interference to other radio communications equipment.
This may happen due to the
manner in which it is installed or operated.”
Well, yes, but this is irrelevant. This is not a situation where a
compliant device happens to cause
interference to a radio receiver. Comtrend PLT
devices are designed in such a way that they are almost certain to
cause interference when operated in the vicinity of an HF (short-wave)
And as to “the manner in which
they are installed”
– how is this even possible? All you do is
plug them in – how wrong can you get that?
PLT? No. The
EU has not yet published a suitable harmonised standard for this type
There is no standard specifically
for PLT, but PLT is quite clearly
already covered by EN 55022 –
whose conducted emissions limits the Comtrend devices exceed by
And as for creating “a suitable
harmonised standard for this type of apparatus”
“Are existing EU
harmonised standards for other products helpful?
Well, the information technology (IT) EMC standard, EN55022, does cover
PLT (as mentioned above), because PLT devices are simply another kind
of IT device. But what the PLT industry lobby wants is a standard that
says that simply because a product is PLT, it is permitted to emit
1,000 times more radio-frequency noise into the
mains network than anything else is
legally allowed to emit.
If such a standard was created,
you can be sure that other powerful
industry lobbies would very quickly insist on having their own EMC
standards that allowed them to emit 30dB more noise into the mains
After all, if PLT products can emit noise at this high level and yet
enjoy a presumption of conformity to the EMC Directive, why not their
products? Then they could remove all their mains filters and save
a very great deal of money.
“Ofcom believes the
electromagnetic disturbance produced by
this technology is an inevitable by-product of its
operation and not attributed to poor design or manufacturing.”
This is a perfectly correct statement! Only not in the way
that Ofcom wants it to appear to the reader. The Comtrend PLT design is
not at all “poor” and neither is
their manufacturing. Both are perfectly competently done. It is just
that the design of Comtrend’s PLT products is intended to put signals
onto the mains distribution network at 1,000
. So of course “the
Aren’t Ofcom’s spinmeisters clever? One has to be impressed!
But since Ofcom are employing such clever people, why doesn’t it employ
them to do something a little more useful, perhaps something that
contributes to Ofcom’s legal duty of protecting the radio spectrum?
For example, they might apply their huge and powerful brains to
noticing that Comtrend’s EMC Declarations of Conformity are complete
testing and assessment takes place against a
backdrop of wider technical uncertainty than is normally the case and
there is an increase in the take-up of this apparatus across Europe.
The development of such a standard
would be an
step. The standard could be used by
manufacturers and Notified Bodies to
assess performance against recognised benchmarked values. If the
apparatus complied with the harmonised standard under the
Regulations, there would be a legal
presumption that the apparatus met
the essential requirements.”
There is work ongoing in CISPR/I to try to create a product
specific standard for PLT devices,
but it suffers from huge difficulties because
the opposing factions (PLT manufacturers versus almost everyone else)
are each determined to get their own way, and there is no middle ground.
Either PLT emits at 1000 times
the emissions limits, or it complies with those
limits and doesn’t work. (At least, this is
the entrenched position taken by
the PLT industry, although recent work has shown they can emit at
the limits given in EN 55022 (the “CISPR limits”) and still achieve
data rates that would satisfy the vast majority of their market. But
the PLT Industry appears to believe that because it spends so much on
lobbying, it should be able to get just exactly what it
wants. Unfortunately, because the way
the European Commission operates, this is quite a reasonable
Anyway, an “EU standard for PLT” is a complete non sequitur. There is
no need for any product to declare compliance to any standard. A
technical assessment for EMC compliance purposes can use Harmonised
Standards, or not, as the manufacturer sees fit. So why all this fuss
Ofcom states that it believes that
the electromagnetic disturbance is an inevitable by-product of
the operation of PLT devices – which is actually an admission of
non-compliance! Since they don’t appear
to understand this basic point, we
suggest Ofcom bothers to actually
read the Essential Requirements in the UK’s EMC Regulations
– where they will see that apparatus is
simply not permitted to be
designed/constructed in a way that interferes with other equipment, and
especially not with radio reception.
The fact is – as many have said – broadband PLT (“Greedy PLT” as it is
coming to be known) such the Comtrend products, uses an inappropriate
technology. It deliberately produces a lot of
electromagnetic energy, then tries to
couple it into an unknown impedance of unbalanced,
unscreened cables (i.e. the mains distribution network
in a house). Any radio engineer would call that
a recipe for disaster. And it is.
This is why there is all this fuss about creating an “EU standard for PLT”
CE marking to their horribly noisy (by
design) products, even though they could not possibly comply with the
A final piece of nonsense
and [Ofcom] obfuscation:
Commission is aware of concerns resulting
from the proliferation of PLT in the EU and in response, issued a
mandate (M/313) to the European Committee for
Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) to produce
a PLT harmonised standard”
M313 is totally irrelevant to the compliance of PLT devices. In fact,
it specifically excludes them. Instead, M313 concerns the
compliance of complete data networks.
Spin, once again. Or is it
obfuscation? Whatever, it is intentionally
misleading. It is also offensive and/or insulting, because it assumes
that readers are so ignorant that they can’t tell the difference
between a network and a device that connects to it.
M313 has been worked on for 10 years with no signs of success. There
has been some further work on it recently, but agreement looks as far
off as ever, and even then many commentators suggest
that it could never be applied to PLT networks, simply because – by
their very nature – most mains networks pre-date the EMC Directive and
were never installed for the purpose of carrying data in the first
Should we be surprised by all the spin, smokescreening, whitewash,
eyewash, hogwash and
(no doubt) many other kinds of wash, in Ofcom’s PLT statement of the 2
nd September 2009?
Well, probably not, because Ofcom is manifestly
unfit for purpose
. We should
probably expect that – given its
contradictory roles – something had to
give, and the PLT statement is just a result of that
failure to reconcile opposites.
Ofcom was conceived and created to fill the role of a single regulator
to oversee the apparently converging fields of broadcasting, telecomms
and spectrum protection. As far as spectrum protection is concerned,
Ofcom is required to be both poacher and gamekeeper. What has
happened is that the needs of telecoms and broadband (the spectrum
poaching role) have prevailed over proper
management of the spectrum (the gamekeeper
Someone who has long
worked in Government in the UK, and who shall remain
nameless (for obvious reasons), wrote the
following in a private email recently:
an out-of-control child
that sometimes attacks its own parents
and ignores anything it doesn’t
like. It is dominated by media luvvies and telecoms
economists, with spectrum management coming a poor last (just one fact,
out of many: they have reduced EMC enforcement / interference
staff by 60% since taking that
duty over from the Radiocommunications Agency). And it has
its own effective spin machine that
– like the whole organisation – is not accountable to
anyone, which is not surprising when you realise that both of its Chief
Executives have been No.10 spin-doctors themselves!”
real, sustainable, sensible answer is
to remove all EMC regulatory duties from Ofcom and give
them to a separate, independent regulator, who is able to focus on
managing the radio spectrum without being
dominated by big business interests.
above is an article from The EMC Journal. It must be said that the the
field engineers and technical staff working for Ofcom no doubt do a
very good job but who are, unfortunately, completely powerless in the
face of the cynical misinformation from their cringeworthy Ofcom
masters and the lying labour government spin merchants.
Ofcom is not fit for purpose
Part 2 - Why Ofcom should be abolished
OFCOM : SNOUTS
IN THE TROUGH
The 'Independent' media regulator costs taxpayer
millions and holds Middle England in contempt.
Talk to anyone in the insular, self-regarding, oh-so-liberal London
media world about Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards and they will say
he’s brainy, self-assured and carries a vast amount of information
around in his head. True, he is slick, articulate and plausible,
dressed in dark, well-cut suits with fashionable narrow lapels. But
more than anything, Ed Richards is a leading member of the New Labour
political establishment, an interconnected, back-scratching mafia that,
while bankrupting Britain, made its own members seriously rich.
For Richards has done extremely well for himself — the total amount of
his salary and pension benefits since he took the helm of Ofcom in 2006
is heading towards the £2 million mark. When asked to justify his
captain-of-industry salary or his watchdog’s £115 million
does not talk of anything so vulgar as ‘value for taxpayers’ money’.
Rather, he speaks of ‘delivering objectives for the least possible
And, in typical bureaucrat’s gobbledegook, he once told a committee of
MPs that budget forward planning is a matter of setting ‘multi-year
horizons’. As well as being a master of New Labour management lingo, Ed
Richards has impeccable connections. Greg Dyke, the BBC
director-general brought down after his run-in with the Blair
government over Iraq weapons expert David Kelly, described Richards as
‘a jumped-up Millbank oik’.
But that is to grossly underestimate his smooth political skills.
Perhaps his greatest political achievement has been to persuade David
Cameron to break yet another of his pre-election pledges. As part of
his promised ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’, Cameron vowed that under a
Conservative government the vast, politically correct Ofcom empire
would ‘cease to exist as we know it’.
Today, the truth is that this citadel of New Labour remains, under a
Tory- dominated Government, utterly unreformed. If David Cameron thinks
Ofcom is going to show respect for the family values he espouses or do
something about properly policing the 9pm watershed, he is deluding
himself. As one industry insider puts it: ‘Ed Richards cannot
understand public anger about a row over decency because he views the
world entirely through a Left-wing prism. He simply doesn’t get what
all the fuss is about.’
Richards is protective about his personal privacy, and Ofcom declines
to provide any details about his life or career beyond the barest
details. Edward Charles Richards is 45, a graduate of the London School
of Economics, and lives in South-West London. He seems to share Ed
Miliband’s ambivalence towards marriage, for though he has two children
with his long-standing partner Delyth Evans, he has not married her.
Evans, seven years older than Richards, is a well-connected member of
the media-political establishment in her own right as a communications
consultant. She was a speechwriter for Labour leader John Smith and a
Labour member of the Welsh Assembly from 2000 to 2003.
Her business of consulting on media policy must be greatly assisted,
one assumes, by sharing a roof with the most important media regulator
in the land.
'Ed Richards is a jumped-up Millbank oik' But how has a man who
never held an executive position in the real world risen so quickly to
a job with a salary of £381,713 (though it was revealed recently
he had taken a 10 per cent cut)?
The answer, it turns out, is all down to football.
During the late Nineties, a group of young Labour activists and
Labour-supporting media people had kickabouts on a pitch in a scrubby
area of North London near King’s Cross railway station. They named
their team Demon Eyes, an ironic homage to the Tories’ depiction of
Tony Blair as satan in their 1997 general election posters.
It was through Demon Eyes that Richards got to know future Labour
Cabinet ministers Andy Burnham, James Purnell, David Miliband and Ed
Balls, the last-named an aggressive centre-forward who frequently
shouted abuse at the referee as well as his team-mates.
So connections, rather than executive performance, explain Richards’s
rise. Indeed, his curriculum vitae is strikingly thin. In the late
Eighties, he worked briefly as a researcher for a TV company that made
programmes for Channel 4, which may explain his apparent profound
reluctance today to criticise any of the broadcaster’s output. For a
brief time he was political adviser to the then National
Communications Union, before working for two years for Gordon Brown in
the early Nineties.
Former Ofcom chief
executive Stephen Carter left in 2005, allowing Ed Richards to get the
He later joined the BBC in the key corporate role of Controller of
Corporate Strategy, before being chosen by Tony Blair in 1999 as senior
adviser for media, telecoms, internet and e-government. He worked
the 2001 Labour election manifesto and together with two key Blair
loyalists (and Demon Eyes team-mates), Andy Burnham and James Purnell,
Richards drafted the Communications Act that set up Ofcom. He proceeded
to rise yearly up the ranks of the Guardian newspaper’s list of media
movers and shakers, reaching number eight, and was described by
paper as a ‘quintessential New Labour man’.
Richards moved from Downing Street to the number two role at Ofcom.
When the watchdog’s chief executive Stephen Carter left in 2005,
Richards got the top job.
The fact that few objected to the blatantly politically partisan
Richards’s appointment to head what was meant to be a totally
independent regulator speaks volumes for the moral ambiguity of the New
Incidentally, to further demonstrate the incestuous relationship
between No 10 and that same supposedly independent media regulator,
Carter later went back to Downing Street in a doomed attempt to
rejuvenate Gordon Brown’s media profile. Previously, Carter had been a
senior executive at NTL, the cable TV company that went bankrupt with
debts of £12 billion.
According to an allegation contained in court documents at the time, he
told a fellow executive who feared he had misled shareholders: ‘What I
tell them is nine-tenths bull**** and one-tenth selected facts.’ Soon
after these alleged remarks, the firm collapsed in one of the largest
corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history.
He defends the media industry, not the public. No one suggested he was
responsible for the state of NTL’s finances, but U.S. court documents
filed by aggrieved investors accused him and three other directors of
‘deceit’ and making ‘materially false and misleading statements’ to the
media about the company’s true financial status. Carter — who denied
the allegations — walked off with £1.7 million in compensation,
including a £600,000 bonus. The other key figure at Ofcom is
Bowe. She became non-executive chairman in March 2009, replacing Lord
Currie, who also happened to be a Labour donor and adviser and was
ennobled by Labour as Baron Currie of Marylebone.
Bowe is a career economist, a former board member of the Left-leaning
think-tank the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and a
board member of the Camden People’s Theatre. She earns £180,000 a
— for working ‘up to three days a week’ for Ofcom. Her pay triggered
criticism from MPs, who asked why a part-time employee should earn more
than the prime minister. Bowe (whose appointment was championed by
Labour’s Peter Mandelson) recently agreed to a 10 per cent pay cut,
like Ed Richards.
She also holds several other lucrative posts, saying she’s ‘well able
to give 60 per cent of my time to Ofcom’. She had previously been head
of the investors’ watchdog, the Personal Investment Authority, where
she was criticised in 1998 for slow progress in clearing up a
£15 billion pension mis-selling scandal. She left with a
pay-and-compensation package of nearly £500,000.
As for the rest of Ofcom’s executive, the majority of members are on
six-figure salaries. Latest figures show that Jill Ainscough, the chief
operating officer, received an annual package worth £261,858,
pensions, benefits and £25,000 performance pay; and Stuart
head of the Competition Policy Group, took home £282,139 in
pensions and benefits. Polly Weitzman, head of Ofcom’s Legal Group,
enjoyed a package worth £250,971; and Christopher Woolard, head
Content, International and Regulatory Development, got £214,125
pension and benefits.
Six individuals were listed as earning between £150,000 and
including the grandly titled Director of Spectrum Policy (Olympics),
whose job it is to ensure there are adequate wireless communication
channels for international broadcasters at the 2012 Games. The perks
aren’t bad either. Over the past five years, individual expenses bills
have included up to £5,278 for overseas accommodation and up to
a year on air fares.
One executive — former Left-wing newspaper editor Ian Hargreaves, who
was Ofcom’s international director — claimed £22,726 for travel
during the year 2007/8 while on a total pay package of £247,896.
2008/09, seven members of the executive board put in expenses totalling
£58,388. The previous year, they claimed £63,754.
So incestuous is the world of think-tanks, government and media policy
that Professor Philip Schlesinger of Glasgow University has written an
academic paper on the subject, tracing how ‘a New Labour policy
generation has emerged’. This was enshrined in the thinking that went
into the legislation that set up Ofcom — through a government Bill
drafted by Ed Richards.
Under Richards and New Labour, criticism of anyone working in their
beloved ‘creative industries’ was tantamount to sabotaging the very
branding and performance of UK plc. With this mindset, it would be
unsurprising if Richards saw his role as defending the industry —
rather than the viewer. For example, after 4,500 complaints about the
lewd final of The X Factor last Christmas, when Rihanna and Christina
Aguilera appeared in soft porn performances on prime-time Saturday
evening TV, Ofcom cleared the programme of wrongdoing, saying merely
that the scenes were ‘at the limit’ of acceptability for broadcast
before 9pm for a family audience.
This didn’t stop the recent review on the sexualising of the young
singling out the offending X Factor show for special criticism. One
media executive explained: ‘It is not a question of Ed Richards being
out of step with middle England values — he would see it as an insult
if you suggested he was in step with them.’
So there was no surprise that when Ofcom censured Channel 4 — albeit in
a rather mealy-mouthed way — after Glaswegian comedian Frankie Boyle
made unrepeatable ‘jokes’ about Katie Price’s disabled son, it failed
to fine the channel. Richards himself is, according to one media
executive, a grey, technocratic figure, and Ofcom’s fashionably
appointed £90 million HQ on the Thames is a dreary place in its
Technically, Ofcom is a non- ministerial department, but is subject to
parliamentary scrutiny, which means Richards must present himself
before the Public Accounts Committee. Perhaps he got complacent during
the loose-touch years of New Labour, but when he went before the
committee last December he took quite a bashing.
According to someone who witnessed the encounter, it was ‘a train
wreck’ as he stammered and obfuscated, unable to explain how his empire
spent millions and millions of public money.
Steve Barclay, the Conservative MP for North East Cambridgeshire, a
former soldier who worked in the private sector until winning his seat
last year, was scathing about the state of Ofcom’s accounts. In
effect, it was accused of burying millions of pounds of unspent money
in various ‘contingency funds’, while rewarding its own staff. In one
year, £14 million (10 per cent of the total budget) was used to
the staff pension fund. Until the wind changed with a new government
and the need for austerity measures, with lavish public sector salaries
coming under scrutiny, Richards even employed an assistant, grandly
styled as Director of the Chief Executive’s Office, on a salary of
‘Ofcom has spent £2.7 million on something called ‘‘thought
leadership’’ and they employ 180 consulting providers,’ says Mr
Barclay. ‘So you can imagine who’s scratching whose back. The accounts
would certainly not pass muster in the private sector.’ Richards, one
observer concedes, was quick to realise after such criticism that
bodies such as Ofcom needed at least to make a gesture of tightening
their belts. He froze executives’ vast salaries.
Though he is known to respond furiously to any criticism, he
reluctantly bent to pressure to reduce the size of Ofcom, which had
increased its staff numbers every year of his tenure. Whole aspects of
the empire, notably its media literacy unit, which produced reports
such as one that found children were often better on the internet than
their parents, have been pruned, and the number of staff reduced by
153 in the past 12 months to the still bountiful level of 720.
But many Tory MPs remain frustrated at the way the media remains in the
firm grip of Ofcom, which continues to function according to
Blairite-Brownite nostrums, despite the fact Britain has a
Conservative-dominated government. It’s rather like an incoming Labour
government finding an important department being run by alumni of the
Bullingdon dining club and opting to keep them all in position.Indeed,
there are signs that Jeremy Hunt, the lambada-dancing Culture Secretary
who is not entirely trusted by the Tory Right, is as comfortable with
Richards as were his Labour predecessors.
Meanwhile, the lesson gleaned from Ed Richards’s survival from Labour
to Coalition rule is that we shouldn’t expect any tougher control of
the more distasteful programmes screened by our main TV broadcasters.
That, and the fact that
once New Labour snouts are in the trough, it’s very difficult to get
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2007124/Snouts-trough-Independent-media-regulator-costs-taxpayer-millions-holds-Middle-England-contempt.html
Broadband over Power Lines is technology for carriage of high speed
data, principally for Internet Access, over the existing power line
Current BPL technology works by conduction of signals in the radio
frequency spectrum up to about 100MHz.
Existing power lines networks are not ideal RF transmission networks,
they will radiate radio frequency energy causing interference to
radiocommunications services, and they will be susceptible to
interference from nearby transmitters - radio or otherwise.
The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation, CENELEC,
are developing a standard for "Electromagnetic emissions from access
powerline communications networks". Access powerline communications
networks are commonly termed Broadband over Power Lines or BPL.
The proposed CENELEC standard does not automatically apply globally,
though countries like Australia draw heavily on international
standards, such as CENELEC's for their own jurisdiction.
This proposed standard would set limits for the conducted energy and
radiated energy of BPL systems. The radiation limit is specified for
example as a field strength in dBuA/m in a measurement bandwidth at a
specified distance on particular frequency, and its impact will not be
immediately apparent to most radio users.
Do you know what the impact of +4dBuA/m in 9KHz at 3m is on your
The BPL Interference Evaluation Tool allows evaluation of the impact of
BPL interference under the proposed CENELEC standard given a set of
location / application specific parameters.
Go to the BPL Interference Evaluation Tool at www.vk1od.net/bpl and
enter the details for your site and discover the impact.
If you understand the potential impact, you will understand that BPL is
the most serious risk that faces amateur radio today.
We, as a community seem absorbed with club level issues and small
minded parochial thinking when a concerted national and international
level approach is needed, and needed now.
Owen Duffy, VK1OD [ http://www.southgatearc.org/news/october/bpl_calculator.htm
HELP SAVE SHORT WAVE:
Vision HomePlug & Similar "PowerLine Adapters"
/ Broadband PowerLine Adapters', BPL and PLT Systems cause severe Radio
Interference to Amateur
Radio (Ham Radio), Shortwave
Broadcast Reception and Citizens Band Radio (C.B.) and have the
potential to disrupt other froms of radio communication.
PLT is not even legal...........but.....
Business is attempting to CRUSH traditional citizens' rights to
communicate using high frequency radio:
Business - in the form of the HomePlug Alliance, together with
co-conspiritors such as British Telecom, PC World, Belkin, ComTrend and
others - are attempting to CRUSH traditional citizens' rights to
communicate using high frequency radioDevices
the mains to link computers or TV
set-top boxes to the Internet can cause significant
interference to radios in nearby houses.
radio specturm ABUSE has to stop!
units are used to establish a network within the home. TV and data
signals are passed between the adaptors by means of radio frequency
energy directly into the mains wiring of that home. The frequency used
is 3-30 MHz. The resulting interference extends many 100's of feet from
the household using them. This prevents users of the short wave radio
spectrum from being able to use their radios.
broadcast stations and many other services are blocked out by the
interference. We feel this is an assault on our human rights and
freedom, preventing us from hearing world band radio. It is also very
dangerous as many safety, military, aviation and shipping services will
on You Tube for powerline adaptors.
Current EMC regulations say: the electromagnetic disturbance generated
should not exceed a level above which radio and telecommunications
equipment or other equipment cannot operate as intended.
E-Petitions were created on the UK
government website calling for such devices to be banned.
The petition was at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/SaveShortwave2/
the Prime Minister to
Immediately ban power line adaptors of the type currently supplied by
HomePlug Interference - Yours Soon?
Severe interference from PLT / B.T. HomePlug (BPL) Adapters threaten to
out our hobby in the near future. The whole of the H.F. (shortwave)
radio band could be potentially lost. That means Amateur Radio,
citizens band (CB) radio and the ability to receive short wave
This Broadband By PowerLine technology is also known as Power Line
Telecom (PLT), Power Line Networking (PLN) and Power Line Communication
(PLC). It is marketed as ‘Home Plug’ by branding
supported by a 'bully-boy' pressure group of large self interested
companies called The HomePlug Alliance.
Such Broadband by Power Line devices distribute broadband internet
network connections via un-shielded mains wiring using a broad range of
the radio spectrum between approximately 2 MHz to 30 MHz. This is the
H.F. “short wave” band. The use of un-shielded
mains wiring to distribute these BPL signals effectively allows it to
act as a large radio transmitting aerial. The signals from BPL devices
can therefore be received for hundreds of metres around a property and
will therefore cause severe interference to, or entirely obliterate the
reception of radio services on the H.F. band to legitimate and licensed
Don't Use PLT HomePlug Adapters: Use
cable. A standard network cable is cheap and reliable, it
energy - unlike a PLT adapter which will invariably be
left powered up continually therefore wasting expensive electricity 24
hours a day, adding to the carbon footprint.
- Switch mode power supplies are typically found in computers (PC's and
laptops), but are also supplied as an inexpensive power solution for
many other mains powered electronic devices and gadgets. A switch mode
power supply does not necessarily have to cause RF interference, but
many switch mode PSU's are built down to the lowest possible price and
to achieve a low production cost, many if not all the necessary
filtering components such as capacitors and toroid inductors are
omitted. These poorly designed and cheaply made switch mode PSU's are a
potential source for seriously problematical amounts of RF pollution
across long wave, medium wave, short wave and VHF bands.
I have found from experience that the switch mode power supplies that
come with many of the cheaper PC cases and towers can create rather a
lot of RF noise across all bands. I have used the 'Hiper' brand of ATX
PSU's previously and found them to be fairly quiet as far as RF QRM is
concerned. I therefore fitted a 'Hiper' brand HPU4S425 Silent 425 Watt
PSU in a recently rebuilt PC help minimize RF noise from my PC's.
Supplied by CCL Computers - my regular PC components supplier.
- Many plasmas screens, the current fad in television viewing,
cause enormous amounts of radio frequency interference across the LF,
MF, HF bands and beyond. The RSGB EMC Committee is researching
interference caused by plasma TV and would like to hear from those
suffering interference from a plasma TV in the HF bands. Contact the
Radio Society of Great Britain - http://www.rsgb.org
It is alleged that plasma televisions manufactured by Panasonic cause
far worse radio interference (spectrum pollution) than other
manufacturers such as Sony. I have no information to back this up, but
if Panasonic plasma televisions are not EMC compliant then it would be
worth investigating further should you be considering the purchase of
such a television.
Representing the best interests of radio
amateurs against PLT
H.F. Radio Threatened with obliteration from HomePlug PLT Networking
The precious radio spectrum from 2 MHz
to 330 MHz is under threat from Power Line Network adapters - PLT / PLA
- supplied by, among others, BT, BT Vision, Comtrend, and Belkin etc.
These devices are not compliant with the Wireless Telegraphy Act - yet
the UK's hapless radio spectrum 'regulator' fails to act. This willful neglect must be challenged. Please
Donate to the Spectrum Defence Fund: Donate here
Help Save the H.F. Short Wave Radio Band
PLT: PowerLine Networking
is a technology that can be used for computer networking. It is also
proven by EMC experts to
harmful to the radio
spectrum by causing very severe radio interference. PowerLine
Networking is being widely
promoted by telecoms and computer companies - despite NOT complying
with accepted technical standards
known as Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC).
technology is also known variously as PLT, PLA and HomePlug networking.
HomePlug adapters, PLA's, are the electronic devices used to create a
network. The most common and most disruptive adapters are the Comtrend
type, supplied by British Telecom with their BT Vision service.
Similar PowerLine Networking adapters are also being pushed by computer
suppliers such as PC World and Maplin etc under many brand names
including Belkin, Netgear, Devolo,
Linksys etc. PowerLine Network Adapters cause terrible
radio interference and are also completely unnecessary and do not meet
basic EMC legislation - although our incompetent government and Ofcom
deny these facts:
A better and
reliable can easily be established at a fraction of the cost of PLT by
using a very simple and very cheap and reliable network cable.
- unlike a PLT adapter which will invariably be
left powered up continually therefore wasting expensive electricity 24
hours a day, adding to the carbon footprint.
Declaration of Human Rights 1948-1998
has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes
freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and
impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of
In this respect the deliberate or otherwise jamming
of world band radio (shortwave) and amateur transmissions is in direct
conflict with this act!