Reference numbers: 1-170267075 / 1-172603335 / 1-173654292
27 April 2011
Mr Michael Trodd
Dear Mr Trodd
Request for Information
Thank you for your requests for information regarding Power Line Technologies („PLT‟). We
have received three letters and have considered these requests under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 („EIR‟).
Request one, reference: 1-170267075
Ofcom received this request on 2 March 2011.
I apologise for the delay in responding to your request. As explained in my letter of 29 March
2011 Ofcom required this additional time because some of the information requested had to
be considered under an exemption under the FOIA which exempts Ofcom from releasing the
information, to which a public interest test applies. Subsequent to our correspondence we
have now considered your request under the EIR.
In addition to this extension, as explained in my subsequent letter of 21 April 2011, recently
we have had a large volume of requests for information regarding PLT and we wanted to
provide a full response to them all of them at the same time.
1) With regard to the EMC regulations why have you elected not to carry out your
statutory duty to protect the radio spectrum from this clear abuse? Particularly in
the light of  - Mr. ED Vaizey's (the Government Minister for Culture,
Communications and the Creative Industries) instructions and assertion that Ofcom
will continue to investigate and take action on a case-by-case basis. Please make
available to me all documents, policies and directives that have led to this stance.
2) How, despite hundreds of cases of spectrum abuse caused mostly by BT Vision,
Comtrend PLT you arrive at your position of September 2009? That there is no
evidence. Please make available to me all documents, policies and directives that
have led to this stance, and say what would make you decide there was sufficient
evidence to take enforcement action?
3) Please explain in your expert capacity how it is possible to use BT Vision,
Comtrend PLT devices in ordinary domestic situations and not cause spectrum
abuse? (Note that just because it is not observed does not mean it does not exist).
Please make available to me the documents and data that you used to arrive at this
conclusion. If you do not hold such data then please say what basis you have for
arriving at this conclusion?
4) Please say how many installations of BT Vision, Comtrend PLT devices in ordinary
domestic situations there are, and are not causing spectrum abuse you are aware
of? Please make available to me all documents and test data that you hold showing
how this was formally tested or observed.
5) Please confirm that it is Ofcom’s duty to protect against EMC radio spectrum
abuse and not that of the BBC. If this duty has now passed to the BBC please
provide details of how this was authorised and which organisation called for and
handled the transition and why it was felt necessary?
6) Please say why despite my formally presenting you with evidence of radio
spectrum abuse (under s37 of the EMC Regs 2006 - ) you have refused to
investigate and resolve this matter? Please make available to me all documents,
policies and directives that have led to this stance.
7) Please say how cases of spectrum abuse by PLT devices are being logged and
used as part of your ‘evidenced based regulator’ status, now that the reporting
system has been broken and it appears you are trying to hide behind the BBC,
which has been shown to be wholly unsuitable and unprepared for cases of this
kind? Please make available to me relevant documents and information.
8) Please explain exactly the process of gathering evidence regarding PLT spectrum
abuse if you are refusing to accept reports from members of the UK public?
9) If you are not refusing to accept formal reports under s37 of the EMC Regs 2006 
from members of the public, please give clear details of how such reports may be
sent direct to Ofcom.
Request two, reference: 1-172603335
Ofcom received this request on 31 March 2011.
I refer to the ERA-RFI Tests Comtrend PLT 2008-0578 Ofcom.pdf report that the
information commissioner required you to make public.
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The report is dated September 2008. Skipping to page 12 the report can be summed
up with this quote."It is considered that the Ethernet power line adaptors do not
satisfy the essential requirements of the EMC Directive"
1) Please then say why Ofcom, who commissioned this report and were in possession
of it continued to publish to its web site statements such as:
2) "On the evidence, Ofcom has not so far found that there is a breach of the EMC
essential requirements" (dated a full year after the report)?
3) Please say why Ofcom in several letters to Mr Nick Gibb MP also continued to say
there was no evidence of a breach of the EMC essential requirements?
4) Please say why Ofcom have assisted BT by suppressing this report?
5) Please say now if you have suppressed any other reports or data indicating that
PLT (that you have allowed to market in the UK) Fails the EMC essential
6) Please now justify your stance on PLT as you were aware that these Comtrend PLT
devices were causing unacceptable levels of radio interference to not only radio
listeners and amateur operators but also to safety of life services and possibly
home security services?
7) Please explain how Ofcom is an evidence-based regulator yet ignored the evidence
and in fact hid it for two years?
8) Please now say how you plan to withdraw all PLT from the market and that already
installed? From the report: 'Declarations of Conformity for both types of adaptor
refer to the EMC Directive 2004/108/EC and refer to standard EN 55022:1998 and
CISPR/I/89/CD. The latter was a draft only that has now been withdrawn and should
not be referenced on a DoC; the former standard is not complied with based on the
testing reported herein. For the Power Grid 902, the DoC refers to Technical
Construction File identified as XXXXXXX, this is not an acceptable reference on the
Given that it is Ofcom's duty to ensure conformity please explain why you have
allowed this breach to continue and detail any action (if any) you took in this
9) Please now say just how much evidence Ofcom requires before it will carry out its
statutory duty and ban and remove PLT from the market, given this report, the PA
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report, severe concerns by professional radio users and the ever increasing
number of interference cases from members of the public?
Request three, reference: 1-173654292
Ofcom received this complaint on 3 April 2011.
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In response to these three requests please see the statement and supporting information on
PLT matters on the Ofcom website here:
We have published as much information as possible that relates to PLT; however there is
some information that is being withheld whilst we seek consent from the relevant third parties
due to potentially commercially sensitive matters. We will update the website with as much of
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this information as is possible as soon as we can and will also place all future information
online if possible.
We will also be making available online all responses to Freedom of Information Act and
Environmental Information Regulations information requests since January 2011.
In response to question three in your second request, reference: 1-172603335,
Please say why Ofcom in several letters to Mr Nick Gibb MP also continued to say
there was no evidence of a breach of the EMC essential requirements?
Your statement in this question that Ofcom said “there was no evidence of a breach of the
EMC essential requirements” is incorrect. Please find attached the correspondence to Nick
Gibb MP that you refer to.
Please note some personal information has been redacted under section 13 of EIR. I have
also removed your personal email address and personal address as I am aware that this is
being published on www.whatdotheyknow.com.
Please ensure that when using the provided information in any way, you comply with all
relevant legislation. For example, the information provided may be protected by copyright
under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended). If in doubt, please seek
independent legal advice. For Ofcom‟s policy on copyright and related issues, please refer
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the
reference number above in any future communications.
If you are unhappy with the response or level of service you have received in relation to your request from Ofcom, you may ask
for an internal review. If you ask us for an internal review of our decision, it will be treated as a formal complaint and will be
subject to an independent review within Ofcom. We will acknowledge the complaint and inform you of the date by which you
might expect to be told the outcome.
The following outcomes are possible:
• the original decision is upheld; or
• the original decision is reversed or modified. Timing
If you wish to exercise your right to an internal review you should contact us within two months of the date of this letter
There is no statutory deadline for undertaking internal reviews and it will depend upon the complexity of the case. However, we
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aim to conclude all such reviews within 20 working days, and up to 40 working days in exceptional cases. We will keep you
informed of the progress of any such review. If you wish to request an internal review, you should contact:
The Secretary to the Corporation
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
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