What can I do?
If you are UK based and experiencing PLT interference to your radio service (FM / DAB / Taxi / Business / Amateur / CB / Shortwave) please report it:
You can report the problem to Ofcom via this link: https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/abuse-amateur-radio-system
(Ignore the part about being a Radio Amateur and enter "n/a" in the licence number and callsign area. Ofcom are trying exceptionally hard to hide and obscure the ability to report interference.) You can also telephone Ofcom on: 0300 123 3333
Ensure you receive a Case number for your complaint. Ask for one if they do not automatically offer it. Without the case number you have no ability to track the complaint! If you are filing complaints for multiple interference sources, ensure each source is given a case number, else Ofcom will continue to lie about the total number of PLT complaints and their sources.
If you are a BT Vision Customer
If you use the IPTV package from BT Vision and you have installed the PLT devices, please consider removing them and replacing them with a Category 5 UTP or Category 6 UTP patch lead. These can be sourced quite cheaply from a variety of suppliers in lengths ranging from 1 metre to 20 metres and in a variety of colours. If you wish BT Vision to do this work for you, contact Customer Services on 0800 111 4567 and request a wired solution.
Alternatively, you could use a TV solution from another supplier who does not advocate PLT!
We have seen a number of recommendations from the freesat consortium suggesting the use of PLT to network the Satellite receiver/recorder to the Internet. A length of Cat 6 patch cable is a far cheaper and easier solution. Alternatively, if you already have Wi-Fi in your property, a Wi-Fi access point can be purchased quite cheaply and configured to connect as a bridge. If you cannot do that yourself, there are plenty of IT professionals working for themselves who would gladly help you for a small fee. Search for "Computer Support" on your favourite trades-person search facility.
If you purchased PLT directly
If you are considering PLT as a networking solution, please consider the implications of your decision and consider the alternatives.
If you have already purchased PLT and this website has made you change your mind, you can return the units for a full refund. Please cite failure to comply with EN55022 (see the section on legislation) and notify your local Trading Standards of a breach of the Essential Requirements of the EMC Directive and failure to conform to EN55022.
The Comtrend PG902 lists its power requirements as 5 watts. In order to create a bridged network, we need two devices, so that is 10 watts. As you need to leave them operating 24 hours a day, that is 10 watts multiplied by 24 hours: 240 watt-hours of power. Left running for 365 days, that is 240 watt-hours multiplied by 365: 87,600 watt-hours of power. For one property running two devices!
The Carbon Trust lists 1 kilo-watt-hour (1kWh) of grid electricity as producing 0.544kg of Carbon Dioxide. 365 days of running two PLT devices continuously will generate 47.65kg of Carbon Dioxide.
Ofcom report an estimated 750,000 pairs of PLT devices in operation. If we assume the same power requirements as the PG902, for one day, those 750,000 devices require 180 Megawatt-hours of power. Over a year, they will burn through 65.7 Gigawatt-hours of electricity.
Returning to the Carbon Trust's conversion factors, 65.7GWh equates to a Carbon Dioxide production of 35,740,800kg for the estimated 750,000 PLT devices.
Comtrend claim they have sold 1.8 million pairs of PG902s in to the UK market place. 1.8 million pairs operating for 24 hours will require 432 MWh of power, and over the course of a year, they will burn 157.68 GWh of electricity and produce 85,777,920kg of Carbon Dioxide.
Flood-wire your property
"It's not my house!", "My girlfriend won't let me!", "I can't be bothered!", "Wi-Fi doesn't pass through the walls!" are a few of the responses on forums when people were challenged to use an alternative.
You are looking to buy a house. There are two in your price range in a similar area with the same living space and amenities. Except one of the houses has been flood wired with data cabling to all of the rooms. Which one are you going to purchase?
Or, you are looking to sell your house, but an identical house on another part of the estate has already installed data cabling. You cannot work out why people are not interested in your house?!
Installing data cabling is a one-off cost, a one-off upheaval whilst the Electricians run the cables and it requires no power to operate it. It is immune from interference and does not generate any. It will be capable of networking your computers, TVs, games consoles, and more, at speeds up to 1Gbps (with the correct hardware). Why would you not want to wire up your house?
It's not my house!
This is a legitimate issue that many who live in rented property raise. We would urge you to put pressure on the landlord to pay for data cabling and lobby your MP to call for a change in building regulations and letting arrangements. It is the 21st century and the "digital revolution"! Placing a property up for rent with one phone line in the hallway and no other means of connectivity should be shunned until the landlord corrects the oversight! Tell them you will not rent their property until it is cabled for data (and telephony, television, etc..). If enough people maintain this mantra, landlords will get the message!
Help us to help you!
A far larger issue is lurking in the background and PLT is just one of the problems. We believe big business is yet again riding roughshod over the small person in the pursuit of profit. Rules and regulations are being ignored and broken and our national regulators and government departments are complicit in sweeping the problems under the carpet. If PLT manufacturers can get away with flouting the EMC tests, why should other manufacturers bother? We believe this will open the flood gates to allow manufacturers to cut costs and supply sub-standard products. We have already seen this with Switched Mode Power Supplies which were manufactured with their filtering components missing. They generated considerable electromagnetic interference and had to be reported. Trading Standards took a dim view and prosecuted the importer!
The United Kingdom's national regulator is Ofcom. They are un-willing to help, despite being responsible for protecting the radio spectrum, and it appears they will only act if forced to by legal action. Please support the radio professionals, amateurs, shortwave listeners, CB radio users and yourself by removing PLT and using Wi-Fi or a wired solution.
See the effects for yourself on our Videos page.
Page updated: 10th September 2012
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