To correct the problem of interference to wireless network transmissions caused by consumer devices, U.K. telecommunications regulator Ofcom launched a consultation Monday on proposed rules that would govern the “intensity of the electromagnetic energy at which electrical and electronic apparatus operates,” after such devices have been placed on the market and/or put into service.
The draft consultation seeks to remedy issues of device interference that lay beyond the scope of the European Union’s directive on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), which outlines technical and other standards to which consumer devices must conform before they appear on the market. Maintaining that “apparatus already in use by the end user may . . . issue excessive levels or intensity of electromagnetic energy for a number of reasons, including, for example, as a result of deterioration over time,” Ofcom pointed to “a shortfall in the regulation of apparatus in use, which causes undue interference to wireless telegraphy.” The consultative document thus explained that the proposed regulations would “provide an essential, and currently lacking, part of the means by which Ofcom could take enforcement action in respect of apparatus causing such interference.”
Under the proposed rules, the “intensity of the electromagnetic energy” at which a consumer device operates would be regulated “so that it is consistent with the maximum intensity of electromagnetic energy which was permissible at the time the apparatus was put into service or made available on the market.” In cases where Ofcom determines that a particular consumer device fails to meet the prescribed standard, Ofcom would be able to serve an enforcement notice that prohibits use of the device in question. Unlike the EMC regulations that are limited to devices that emit electromagnetic energy at frequencies that do not exceed 3,000 GHz, the proposed Ofcom regulations would apply to any device that interferes with wireless network operations. Ofcom has asked interested parties to submit comments by February 16.