PLT affaire and EC reply

This summer some news spread media about an important threat to amateur radio activity: PLT.

EURAO, first of all, wanted to know what is the current situation and sent a letter asking about this matter to the European Commission.

And this is the reply...

Reply to your letter regarding prEN 50561-1

Dear Mr. Samaranch,

Thank you for your questions regarding the PLT. In response I would like to inform you the following.

Power line Communication (PLC) technology, also known as Power Line Transmission (PLT) is covered by the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive[1], which establishes the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) essential requirements that equipment has to fulfil in order to be marketed in the European Union. The goal of the essential requirements is to ensure that the electromagnetic environment in the EU is allowing the normal functioning of all electrical and electronic appliances, systems and installations, by requesting a harmonised, acceptable level of protection.

The PLC / PLT technology is used for two main purposes:

  • For in-home telecommunication equipment using the low voltage power lines as transmission (i.e. to provide medium for broadband access indoors) with currently more than 10 million devices deployed in EU
  • Providing communication functions for power network operators, like data transfer in Smart grids.

The Commission services observe that there has been no significant number of PLC/PLT disturbance cases until now, nevertheless the creation of adequate PLT/PLC standards has been a constant request of national market surveillance authorities and other stakeholders during the past years.

In 2001, the Commission issued Mandate 313 to CENELEC and ETSI[2] to develop harmonised standards for telecommunication networks, including PLT ones. The work pursuant to Mandate 313 made progress nevertheless slowly due to the difficulty in agreeing common limits and measurement methods. Currently the first two items relating to conducted transmission networks: Part 1 on Telecommunications lines and Part 2 on Coaxial cables (CaTV-based) are finalized.

The work on part three, regarding PLT network, was blocked due to the lack of a product standard. As this is a requisite to the completion and success of Mandate 313 and also to enable new technologies as e.g. networks for smart grids we have invited CENELEC to provide a solution to the problem.

The current results of the work undertaken in CENELEC by the working group tasked to produce the standard are the outcome of a long process where all the stakeholders have participated. While the procedure for approving the deliverables is a matter that belongs with the European Standardisation Organisation responsible for the work, in this case CENELEC, the Commission Services have been involved as observers. To our knowledge the process for submitting the draft standard to vote has been scrupulously adhered to.

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[1] Directive 2004/108/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2004 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to electromagnetic compatibility and repealing Directive 89/336/EEC:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:390:0024...

[2] Standardisation mandate addressed to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI concerning Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) of Telecommunications networks:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/rtte/files/mandates/m313_en.pdf

Best Regards,

Octavian POPESCU

Policy Officer

European Commission - DG Enterprise & Industry

Unit G4 - Mechanical, Electrical and Telecom Equipment

BREY 10/176 1049 Brussels

Tel: +32 2 29 67918