Could you be prosecuted for using broadband powerline adaptors?

You could be prosecuted, fined and even imprisoned if you use networking equipment like powerline adaptors to extend your broadband connection and it interferes with radio signals, under new proposals from UK communications regulator Ofcom.

Government intelligence agency GCHQ is concerned the use of such equipment, which allows you to extend your broadband to areas of your home Wi-Fi won't reach using the main wiring, could interfere with international military radio signals.

However, Ofcom denies its proposed regulations are in response to lobbying from GCHQ: "Ofcom's proposals are designed to update existing regulations to take account of developments in technology. They are not in response to requests from any organisation."

Both BT and TalkTalk offer you powerline adaptors if you sign up to one of their TV packages so you can connect the YouView box you get to the internet if that and your broadband router are in different rooms.

According to the regulations proposed by Ofcom in a consultation published on Monday, its officials would be able to issue enforcement notices for such equipment to be shut down should the electromagnetic radiation it can emit interfere with radio signals or prevent air traffic control, the ambulance service or the police from communicating clearly. The BBC has also said digital radio can be disrupted by the technology.

"Communications networks are a key aspect on which these services depend for their organisation and operation, and therefore it is important to protect their correct function from undue interference," said Ofcom.

Under the proposals, if you don't comply you could face prosecution and, in the most serious cases, where lives could be at risk, fines of up to £5,000 in England and Wales and up to three months in prison in Northern Island and Scotland.

The deadline for responses, which can be submitted directly through www.ofcom.org.uk, is 16 February, 2015.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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