Interference to radio equipment

Spectrum users may experience interference from time to time.

While Ofcom does not guarantee interference-free spectrum, this page explains how you can:

  • troubleshoot interference; and
  • report interference to us.

Causes of interference

Interference is normally caused by:

  • the unlicensed use of radio apparatus;
  • electromagnetic disturbance from apparatus or installations; or
  • a fault or deficiency in the affected station or apparatus.

What you can do

In many cases, the solution could be as simple as moving the affected equipment.

It might be possible to identify the cause of the interference yourself. Where possible and safe, try switching off devices in or around the building, one at a time, and see if this improves the situation.

How we can help

Reports of interference are handled by our Spectrum Management Centre. We might also send a Spectrum Engineering Officer to carry out an investigation.

Ofcom will not usually investigate a case unless we are satisfied that:

  1. the interference is harmful;
  2. it is outside the complainant’s control; and
  3. all reasonable steps have been taken to minimise its effect.

We consider interference to be harmful if:

  • it creates danger, or risks of danger, in relation to the functioning of any service provided by means of wireless telegraphy for the purposes of navigation or otherwise for safety purposes
  • it degrades, obstructs or repeatedly interrupts anything which is being broadcast or otherwise transmitted by means of wireless telegraphy and in accordance with a wireless telegraphy licence, or a grant of recognised spectrum access or otherwise lawfully.

We will exercise discretion on whether to investigate a report of interference, and do not imply that interference will be eliminated or that enforcement action will be taken to prevent it occurring.

Report interference

Before reporting interference to us, you should:

  • log all incidents for at least a week with the time, date and station or apparatus affected;
  • establish that the source of harmful interference is not within your control (e.g. within your own property); and
  • ensure the affected station or apparatus is functioning correctly.

You can report interference to amateur, business or hobby radio, or interference to wireless devices at home.

You can also contact us for advice and assistance. Email or call us on 01462 428540.