Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another kiss-off for UK PLT fighters

It comes as no surprise to me to learn that the second attempt to use an online petition to force the UK government to outlaw home networking over power lines (PLT) devices has been given a diplomatic kiss-off, just like the first one. The government's response - which you can read in full here - concludes "On the available evidence, we do not believe an outright ban of all powerline equipment is justified."

The response was so predictable that I didn't even bother signing this petition. The online e-petition site exists simply to give the impression that democracy exists in this country and that ordinary people's views count. The results show what a lie that is.

The only things that count for anything in this country are money and votes. There are too few radio amateurs to influence anyone's electoral results. And as long as it is cheaper for British Telecom to solve reports of PLT interference by "
replacing the apparatus, hard wiring and conventional wireless alternatives" than to withdraw the offending devices, that's what it will do.

There were 121 reported cases of PLT interference in the UK in the last year, and according to the government's response 104 were resolved in the abovementioned manner. What the reply doesn't say is what happened in the 17 cases that were not resolved. It would appear that 17 UK radio amateurs are no longer able to pursue their hobby because of this.

The response also states that "
the Regulator’s investigations found no breach of the EMC requirements." If true, this suggests that the regulations aren't strict enough to protect the ability of radio amateurs and listeners to receive weak signals on the short wave bands.

We're all doomed! The steady increase in noise levels due to the proliferation of all kinds of electronic devices is something that most of us have experienced unless we are fortunate enough to live in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours. I seriously doubt that ham radio will still exist as a hobby in ten years' time.
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