My mention of the EMC regulations a couple of months ago elicited a response claiming that interference from what is variously known as Power Line Technology/ Power Line/ Communications/ Power Line Telecommunications equipment (let?s call it PLT) was a widespread problem that was only going to get bigger, and was a major breach of the EMC regulations.

Radio free Europe

The interference complained of is primarily across the short-wave radio spectrum, but it actually creates interference across a swathe of SW frequencies, and can radiate 500 metres and beyond from its source, being someone’s PLT- equipped home.

A couple of other respondents expressed their opinion that the TCA shouldn’t be looking to issues that were in the past and that since the regulations weren’t policed, why bother to conform?

Last month I mentioned Martha Lane-Fox championing the Digital Inclusion Task Force. Incidentally, she seems a lot more sympathetic to the plight of those she’s championing than does Sir Alan Sugar, the ‘enterprise tsar’ (yuk!), whose comments that 85 per cent of small businesses weren’t worthy of bank loans, and that their owners were moaners did nothing to define either his wisdom or that of Gordon Brown’s in appointing him.

I received a response from someone who is close to ML-F’s campaign, agreeing that hers is a really tough but very important job. And of course getting the last ten million of our population online will require a lot of effort from people who are close to the problem, namely the local, independent resellers. And any solution to this challenge would, I believe, call upon lowest cost technology, and one of those enabling technologies might well be PLT.

BT’s Vision product might be an ideal candidate for delivering broadband into the living room, but at what cost to the nation’s radio spectrum? According to, the European Commission has discovered that 30 per cent to 50 per cent of products supplied in the EU do not comply with the relevant EU directives.

The Commission was worried enough to pass EU Regulation 765, which means that from January 2010 member states are required to perform a specified minimum effort in enforcing EU Directives. Hopefully, this will address the oft-repeated claim that while the broadly Euro-sceptic UK implements EU laws, many other states frequently flout them.

And this also addresses the concern that any trade association should have: If our members bear the cost of conforming to the law, while other businesses gain a competitive advantage by flouting it, shouldn’t a proper trade organisation highlight this iniquitous situation? That’s not to say that we shouldn’t at the same time tell Government that the law is impracticable.

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