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FCC: Bitcoin Mining Equipment is Causing Interference to T-Mobile in Brooklyn

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to an individual in Brooklyn, New York, alleging that a device in the individual’s residence that is being used to mine Bitcoin is generating spurious radiofrequency emissions, causing interference to a portion of T-Mobile’s mobile telephone and broadband network.

The letter states that on November 30, 2017, FCC agents investigated complaints of interference by T-Mobile and determined that it was being caused by an Antminer 5s Bitcoin Miner device. The letter states that the determination was specific to this particular device, and is not meant to suggest or find that all Antminer s5 devices cause unlawful interference. As a consequence, the letter does not suggest that all Bitcoin mining devices raise regulatory concerns.

Nevertheless, the letter is an important reminder that while consumer electronics products such as the Antminer s5 do not require an FCC license to operate, they emit radiofrequency energy and therefore must operate within certain parameters to avoid causing harmful interference to other devices or networks.

© 2018 Covington & Burling LLP


About this Author

Yaron Dori, Communications Attorney, Covington Burling, Law Firm

Yaron Dori is a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC office, and is the co-chair of the Communications & Media Practice Group.  He practices primarily in the area of telecommunications, privacy and consumer protection law, with an emphasis on strategic planning, policy development, commercial transactions, investigations and enforcement, and overall regulatory compliance. 

Mr. Dori represents clients before federal and state regulatory agencies -- including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC...

Matt DelNero, FCC, Branch, Communications, Covington

Matt DelNero serves as a trusted advisor to innovators and investors in the telecommunications, technology and media sectors—advising clients in policy development, regulatory compliance, and commercial transactions, among other settings. Mr. DelNero rejoined the firm in January 2017 after serving as Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).