Radcom January 2017 article by Ofcom on page 44 Ofcom's approach to VDSL

Discussion in 'EMC Matters' started by M0JAV, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. M0JAV

    M0JAV Moderator

    Ofcom use a priority scheme to determine how to respond to reports of Harmful Interference.I have uploaded this as a file to preserve formatting.
    We have seen a number of cases where advice has been given, several where they have contacted the offender and the RFI has been turned off but none where an actual enforcement has been made where Amateur Bands were suffering RFI. We continue to urge them to act on Solar PV, wind farm and VDSL cases in particular, but they state they have no enforcement powers against these. They explained why they did not seek these in the response to the new SI earlier this year and reported in the June Ofcom (also uploaded for reference). They also recently provided answers to our questions which can be found at Questions from RSGB for Ofcom regarding S54 Regulations (9 pages/258KB PDF)

    John M0JAV

    Attached Files:

  2. G8HGN

    G8HGN New Member

    I'd also like to post my experiences with Ofcom and Case:1-25332692

    In late 2013 I noticed interference to the 2M band, multiple rough carriers throughout the band and peaking around 147Mhz. The noise floor was now at about S6-7 bearing 120 degrees and in that direction virtually unusable. Over the winter I kept a log and did some DFing and found 2 possible house that the interference appeared to be coming from some 200 yards away in another road. The interference only seem to be active early mornings a evenings in winter, but come the summer was on at most times day or night. The reasons for the pattern of interference will become evident as we go along.

    In March 2014 I'd had enough and contacted Ofcom, and filled in an RSGB report at the same time. The duty officer rang me shortly after submitting the details and we had a chat and he said someone would call. Next evening I got a call and the engineer made an appointment to come round at night. This duly happened and I had the rig on with the noise and he noted it and said he'd go round to the house and listen outside. After a time he came back and said I can't get anything at all. Perplexed we decided he'd cme back on another night with "more suitable equipment". This duly happened and this time he found the source, a 10 year old, at the time, Pioneer plasma TV. He went away and said he'd contact me again.

    Now May, no contact so I emailed the engineer. I got this reply,

    " I apologise for the amount of time between my last visit and any outcome.

    I have been awaiting some guidance from our internal Policy team regarding your issue. Unfortunately the current Ofcom stance is that we do not possess the relevant powers to deal with interference from Plasma TV sets at this moment in time. I posted a letter yesterday outlining Ofcom’s position."

    I then get this,

    "Dear Mr Harrison,


    I am writing to advise you of the outcome of our investigation into your interference problem.

    The interference reported has been traced to a local property and identified as a TV receiver

    Our investigation is complete and case reference 1-253329692 is now closed.

    If you experience any further interference problems, you will need to request a new investigation.

    Yours sincerely,

    Duty Engineering Officer


    Well you can imagine I'm not happy, one that the interference is still there and to the off hand way of being dealt with by Ofcom. So I then contacted the RSGB EMC committee via Gus G3ZEZ. With their help the case was re-opened and November 2014 I receive this from Ofcom.

    "Mr Harrison,

    Thank you for our conversation a little earlier today. Further to this, and as per your request, I have documented below where we are with your interference complaint:

    ·The interference was originally traced back to a plasma TV located in a neighbouring road;

    ·The level of interference warranted further investigation by Ofcom and having liaised with the plasma TV manufacturer, they agreed to attend the address and look at the TV in an attempt to reduce the electromagnetic disturbance;

    ·However, the owner of the TV spends the winter in Portugal (according to neighbours) and our attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful. An Ofcom engineer has attended the address a number of times and posted correspondence through the door but has yet to receive a response;

    ·Please be aware that we are dependent upon the TV owners goodwill and resolution can only be reached with the owner’s cooperation;

    ·We are unable to take this case any further until the owner of the TV returns from Portugal.

    Once we receive contact from the owner of the TV, I will make further contact with you and supply another update. Please bear in mind that this may take some time as we have no return date."

    I knew about the owner situation, but it seemed to me this was being used as an excuse to do nothing. Around this time I was made aware of the faulty TV swap scheme, whereby an offending TV can be swapped out for a new one by the manufacturer. this scheme has been arranged through links between EMC committee and representatives of the trade organisations. I wasn't aware of the scheme, more to the point neither were Ofcom, or at least the people dealing with my complaint.

    Move on to October 2015, another year has gone by, and another email from Ofcom.

    "Mr Harrison,

    Thanks for your email. I do recall this case, even though it was almost a year ago!

    I have copied in Ofcom’s Spectrum Management Centre into this response as it is they who allocate resources to such cases.

    As I’m sure you already appreciate, and as I pointed out in the last two bullet points of the email I sent you in November 2014, this case depends on the cooperation of the owner of the TV. Ofcom have already left numerous letters at the address and have still not heard back from the owner. It’s difficult to justify sending another engineer to the address in the hope that the owner is at home or to put yet another letter through the door. Under the current laws, the owner of the TV is under no obligation to contact Ofcom and any action to take this case forward would be on a voluntary basis. We have to be proportionate in our approach and not appear to harass members of the public who chose not to cooperate with such issues.

    I am unaware of the scheme that you mention between the RSGB EMC Team and TV manufacturers where the TV in question could be swapped out for a new one. If this is the case, maybe the RSGB EMC Team could make contact with Pioneer and progress the case?

    For the record, I did liaise with Pioneer on this case and they were content in sending one of their engineers to the address to evaluate what actions could be taken to eradicate the problem.

    I hope that this helps."

    Well no it doesn't actually. Nothing happens and we reach February this year. Colin Richards (RSGB EMC) suggest another email to Ofcom, this time to Clive Corrie reminding him of his statutory obligations.

    A couple of weeks later Ofcom send another email.

    Good Morning Mr Harrison,

    Having now had the time to look at your case and refresh my memory on previous proceedings, I can now provide you with an update.

    Firstly, I have had involvement in this case before and if my memory serves me correctly, the owner of the TV set spends a lot of time out of the country and it’s difficult to communicate with him for this reason. I also remember liaising with Pioneer, who agreed to visit the property to look at the TV set but the problem was that the owner did not reply to our letters to allow us to arrange this.

    Secondly, thank you for the information regarding section 366 of the Communications Act 2003, this is something which has been discussed between the RSGB and Ofcom in the past. As I understand it, section 366 allows Ofcom the power to gain entry to a property to locate and test any TV set suspected of causing interference to wireless telegraphy. In your case, an Ofcom engineer has already been granted access to the property where the offending TV set is located and conducted tests. Therefore, this is not a path that Ofcom would go down as it would not be a proportionate action to take.

    However, all is not lost. I am prepared to attempt to make contact with the TV set owner again and discuss this issue with him. I will also liaise with Pioneer again to see if between us we can find a resolution to this problem.

    I will be in contact to supply you with an update in due course.

    Another 2 weeks and,

    "Good Morning Mr Harrison,

    Since our last email exchange the following has occurred:

    ·I have spoken with the owner of the plasma TV set which was emitting the electromagnetic disturbance. The owner returned to the UK in mid-March and was willing to assist Ofcom in this case;

    ·I liaised with Pioneer who were willing to send an engineer to the address to assess the plasma TV set and if possible, attempt to reduce the electromagnetic disturbance;

    ·On Thursday 24 March, Pioneer did visit the address and attached three separate ferrite clamps to the antenna cable of the plasma TV set.

    Have you noticed any difference in the interference levels since last Thursday?"

    On the 1/4/2016 I send this back after checking for a few days.

    "I've checked at several different times over the last two days, and again just now, but unfortunately the interference is still at the same level as previously.

    I suspect the screen itself is radiating, so ferrites on the antenna cable are going to be largely ineffective. Every pixel on a plasma screen has the potential to become a spark generator when it fails.

    The Pioneer engineers should be aware of this. However due to the age of the set, 2003 I believe, spares are probably limited or unavailable. Hopefully the ferrites were a first choice as easy to fit, and other courses of action are planned now that that remedy proved unsuccessful.

    I'll await any further developments.


    Rob Harrison G8HGN"

    And that's the last I've heard from Ofcom. Three years and I still don't know whether the case is closed, open, or what. The interference seems to have gone, but whether they afforded a cure or the TV was replaced, or died, is open to question.

    All in all a completely unsatisfactory dealing with Ofcom. I think we, the members, and the society need to lobby in certain areas, or raise a test case, perhaps with an altruistic lawyer. We need to get Ofcom to use their statutary powers, rather than hide behind lack of staff and their interpretation of those rules, to do nothing.

    My case, although important to me, is small beer compared to those suffering solar and PLT type interference. So we need to get organised and lobby at governmental level.

    I'm sorry this has been a long winded posting, but without the emails the thread would be difficult to follow.


    Bob G8HGN
  3. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Bob as far as Pioneer is concerned then it is far too late for them to get involved, the set in question must be extremely old as they stopped producing sets way back about 2009.

    Even now Panasonic have stopped replacing them and Samsung have a limit of 5 years but up to now both companies have been more than helpfull in replacing their Plasma TV`s for brand new LED types at no cost whatsoever, what a brilliant offer but all good things must come to an end.

    I do not know why you were not told by Gus about this scheme but it would sadly not have applied to your case.

    EMC Help Desk
  4. G8HGN

    G8HGN New Member

    Hi Ken,

    Pioneer did get involved, eventually, but not through that scheme it seems. My point was that Ofcom didn't seem to know anything about it. It may be that scheme is between RSGB EMC and the trade, and brought in if needed to liase with Ofcom, I don't know how it works. Perhaps we need to know more about it, or has it run it's course and manufacturers are not willing to continue?

    The main point is Ofcom's use of their interpretation of the statute to do nothing from the outset. Why bother to send an engineer out, twice, when they had no intention of doing anything. According to their ideas my case was a non-starter. Why waste resources?

    Why have we had new powers granted to Ofcom if they are trying to weedle out of them straight away. I've lost all faith in their organisation and next time someone gets RFI problems they'd better write to their MP asking why Ofcom isn't working to resolve the issue with it's statutory powers. Bringing in Ofcom, apart from recording the case, will result in nothing happening unless their politcal masters feel threatened.

    As for Mark Walls, who's a radio amateur and Ofcom's Director of Spectrum Technology, Engineering and Enforcement. He should be ashamed of himself.


    Bob G8HGN
  5. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    It was a Ofcom engineer who off of his own back spoke to Samsung who agreed to involve themselves and then i spoke to Panasonic and they agreed as well, this was 5 years ago or so, i have been helping ever since. Pioneer did get involved but offering to go part way with the purchase of a new set but the one i was involved with did not take their offer, they were very helpful and listened a damn sight more that LG who did not want to know at all.

    Back to Ofcom and as said there chap done all of this off of his own back and when asking his boss they said no will not get involved and that was back 5 years ago.


  6. G8HGN

    G8HGN New Member

    Thanks for the info' Ken, and thanks for trying to get something in place.

    Seems even back 5 years ago the writing was on the wall with Ofcom.

    Heaven help us after Brexit.


    Bob G8HGN
  7. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Well i did succeed for 5 years but as i said all good things and that, sad it had to come to an end.

  8. G8HGN

    G8HGN New Member

    It's hard to see why Ofcom wouldn't want to have that kind of assistance, unless they were going down the road of no action unless life or death situations involved.

    And hey presto that's just what we've got in essence. Minimal staff and resources, cut backs, all about saving money, and to what end.

    Service to the public has been abandoned to the god of profit.

    We as tax payers provide the salaries of these people and they answer to us. Not the other way round, and it's about time we stood up and told them so.

    As you may be aware I'm extremely angry about all this. Not just personally, my case is way down the list of those who need assistance and remedy. Those that can't operate on any bands due to severe interference from installations that could be fixed relatively easily, but the owner needs to be aware that if he doesn't do something then consequences will occur. Otherwise they will blissfully carry on polluting the radio spectrum.

    We don't see this type of action from our European neighbours. They still have a service with teeth.

    Unless directly asked to comment, I'm going to say no more.


    Bob G8HGN
  9. M0JAV

    M0JAV Moderator

    A reply from Dave sent to emc.chairman@rsgb.org.uk reposted with his permission

    HI John,
    I was most surprised in OFCOM's letter in the latest RADCOM.
    there are too many inaccuracies for one, sure we accept our noise floor to go up a little
    What they don't mention is hams being completely wiped out with S9 noise 24 hours a day.
    For some reason they close cases which are not solved,
    I just hope that the RSGB don't pull any punches in their reply next month
    If I was to transmit out of band I would be chastised yet BT get away with it
    I can only say that it like attaching a long wire to a switched mode power unit when we have so called balanced matched lines that DO radiate
    BT broadband emissions can clearly be heard on the shortwave bands .
    Is there not some political representation solution that the RSGB can instigate because clearly OFCOM are not listing to us Hams!
    Another thing is ,I was surprised that OFCOM have so few powers to enforce the Law
    When I worked in ATC we had a unit that detected interference on the Airways VHF channels and OFCOM
    always supported our unit , we had things like plastic moulding companies using 27 MHz and the rest causing interference over the airlanes
    They were always closed down immediately through the fact it was a safety concern
    I think OFCOM has powers but will not use then due to political correctness, to further the march of high speed broadband on the cheap.
    Dave Cossar GM3WIL
  10. M0JAV

    M0JAV Moderator

    Dave mentions the noise levels from sources like VDSL. The EMCC has made extensive measurements of these levels (which as you say are often much higher than S9) and have presented a detailed report and recommendations to Ofcom and BT. We are planning to publish a summary of the report in the near future.
    John M0JAV
  11. M0JAV

    M0JAV Moderator

    A reply from Bob sent to emc.chairman@rsgb.org.uk reposted with his permission

    I am relieved that Mark Walls as Director Spectrum Technology is a "license holder" and has a personal interest in the hobby . Licensed to cause deliberate QRM maybe ?

    He clearly doesn't operate on the lower HF bands , and openly states he doesn't care a jot about protection of long distance communications on these frequencies.

    He tells us we are important stakeholders, but clearly we have no say over the 6 million VDSL installs , using a standard that does not protect the minority users of the HF spectrum .
    The regulation of the spectrum is now driven by those who are willing to put in the highest bids and Ofcom are there merely to manage the interests of those who provide HMG the biggest income streams. Token words from Mark about investigating the 100 "unconfirmed" reports of interference.

    The message is clear - if you suffer increased noise levels on HF from VDSL - tough!

    Let's all go back to spark transmissions - our voice would be heard loud and clear by Ofcom !

    Seriously, there is a clear message that the RSGB need to lobby Ofcom for greater power output limit for UK amateurs to allow us to cope with higher levels of QRM and QRN.
    I would suggest 1kW rf output on 160m 80m and 40m as an opening position.

    Looking forward to an ever more polluted spectrum

    Best regards

    Bob G4DBW
  12. M0JAV

    M0JAV Moderator

    A letter received from Tom G3VBS scanned and posted here with his permission. We have been working with Tom for several years and followed closely his attempts to get action against wind turbine interference. He has raised several cases with Ofcom involved his MP, MEP and appealed to the Ombudsman without impact on his RFI problems.
    John M0JAV

    Attached Files:

  13. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    I have been increasingly of the view over some time that the United Kingdom is in gross breach of its Treaty obligations imposed by the ITU Radio Regulations, not to mention OFCOM's failure to comply with domestic legislation. There is likely to be a failure also to comply with EU legislation as a Member State (which we are until we are not).

    All very well for me to make this broad statement. Pursuing it is another matter. It is very likely having regard to the attitude of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court that a considered policy with budgetary analysis is king unless it is irrational. So there are tensions between national and international legislation and practical application.

    We are at a point where further public discussion of possible remedies may not be advisable. My e-mail address is available to anyone signed in to QRZ.com. I suggest an appeal to the amateur community via GB2RS/RadCom/this website for anyone with a legal and/or political backgound (me, for a start) to join an ad hoc group to discuss this further. This could include anyone accustomed to interpreting and debating standards etc. although I appreciate that volunteers in that field are already extremely busy.

  14. M0JAV

    M0JAV Moderator

    Posted at Steves request on his behalf
    For some reason I am unable to post to the EMC Forum at the moment. I would be grateful if you could post this for me…

    Ref page 44, January 2017 Radcom
    Having recently been in contact with Ofcom regarding a severe and obvious EMC problem from newly installed VDSL broadband installations, I was utterly dismayed to read the a full page “damage limitation” PR piece full of excuses by Mark Walls of Ofcom. In total contrast to what he claimed in the article, they are completely disinterested in VDSL interference reports.
    I placed a complaint on-line only to be called the next day by the Duty Officer at Ofcom. He only had one thing he wanted to say: “that Ofcom do not investigate any VDSL interference reports, and I should call BT Open Reach instead”. As we know BT Open reach will not take calls directly from end-user subscribers, and therefore the complaint process can only be dealt with via yet another disinterested party - your Internet Service provider.
    Both Ofcom and BT Open Reach are entirely complicit in creating/approving this invasive interference causing technology, yet they both adopt Teflon shoulders by insisting that we deal with it via our Internet Service Provider. The ISP is the least able to understand or help with the issues, and is actually entirely innocent of blame (unless its also BT of course).
    I’ve read numerous documents from Ofcom on the subject of VDSL and the most disturbing observation is that they are trying to sweep the whole issue under the carpet by using terms like “an increased noise floor”. This is a deliberate misnomer, designed to make us think that this interference is somehow unavoidable like some natural phenomena. Obvious this is nonsense. VDSL is a real machine-generated transmission from man-made equipment, and should be dealt with as such.
    Would any other source of ultra-wide-spectrum RF inference over a huge geographic area be allowed to exist, or would it quickly be shutdown regardless of how many, or how few reports there had been. Why should VDSL be treated as a protected RF spectrum access right, where it obviously isn’t.
    Surely it’s time for the public and RSGB to assume that Ofcom cannot perform their purpose in RF spectrum management. If so we need to lobby our MPs and government to get this essential public right, and national resource adequately protected for the people of this country, not corporate monopolies like BT.
    73 de Steve G1XOW, Nottinghamshire UK
  15. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    You may be interested, if not already aware, in the consultation for the OFCOM Proposed Annual Plan for 2017/18. The consultation closes on 7 February 2017. See this link:


    The page itself provides a link to the consultatin document, here:


    Paragraph 5.9 of the consultation document is interesting:

    "Spectrum assurance and enforcement


    Ofcom advises and assists spectrum users to help resolve harmful interference. Our
    Spectrum Technology, Engineering and Enforcement Teams handle reports of
    interference and carry out activities to protect and manage the UK’s spectrum. These
    include reacting to interference to safety-of-life communications and proactively
    preventing unauthorised use of spectrum by identifying and addressing unlicensed
    use of spectrum and the sale or use on non-compliant equipment. Our enforcement
    is proportionate, in accordance with our statutory duties and regulatory principles."

    Not much comfort there, then.

    Will the RSGB/EMCC be attending the public consultation meeting at OFCOM as follows:

    "England Annual Plan Event

    Date:Thursday 12 January 2017
    Time:2:30pm to 3:30pm
    Venue: Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9HA
    RSVP: stakeholder.events@ofcom.org.uk
    0300 123 3000 [Contact: David Michels]"

    Will the RSGB/EMCC be responding to the consultation?

  16. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    John, are you assuming that we would not bother?

  17. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    Not in the slightest, Ken. I am asking a question. I just havn't seen anything about the OFCOM consultation publicised anywhere until one of their e-mails dropped into my inbox; I am on their mailing list for such things.

  18. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    You have nothing to worry about John as we have got it covered, we cannot publicise every detail until it happens.

    As has been said before many times " You would be surprised what goes on behind the scenes at the EMCC" we have some very knowledgeable guys in every field of EMCC and work very hard to represent the best interests of the members of the RSGB and the hobby in general.
  19. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    Ian G8JZY and Ken G3SDW like this.

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