Bitcoin Miner In New York Interfered With T-Mobile Broadband, Says FCC

News | February 19, 2018 By:

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered a New York resident to turn off his bitcoin miner after the FCC discovered that it was interfering with T-Mobile’s wireless network.

On February 15, the FCC issued a “Notification of Harmful Interference” to Victor Rosario, informing him that they received a complaint from T-Mobile regarding interference with its network. The interference affected T-Mobile’s prized 700MHz spectrum. This is known as LTE band 12, and it’s present on all current T-Mobile phones and most unlocked devices.

“When the interfering device was turned off the interference ceased,” the FCC’s enforcement bureau told Rosario. “You identified the device as an Antminer S5 Bitcoin Miner. The device was generating spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile’s broadband network and causing harmful interference.”

The commission warned Rosario that continued operation of this device would constitute a violation of the federal law and could result in fines, criminal prosecution, or seizure of the equipment. Rosario has 20 days from the date of the warning to provide all labeling information, detail what he will do to prevent a repeat incident, and provide proof of purchase for the Antminer.

The commission said the notice is not specific to the brand or model of device and is not meant to suggest or find that all Antminer S5 devices are non-compliant.

“Further, although we are aware that even compliant devices can be modified in a manner that creates harmful interference, we make no finding as to whether this particular device conforms to its original manufacturer’s specifications,” the FCC said.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a tweet that the “letter has it all: bitcoin mining, computing power needed for blockchain computation, and wireless broadband interference. It all seems so very 2018.”