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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.

© 2019 Covington & Burling LLP


About this Author

Yaron Dori, Communications and media attorney, Covington


Yaron Dori has 20 years of experience in telecommunications, privacy, and consumer protection law advising telecom, technology, and media companies on their most pressing business challenges.

In doing so, Mr. Dori focuses on strategic planning, policy development, 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) —and the U.S. Congress...

Matt DelNero, Covington Burling, Telecommunications attorney

Matt DelNero represents companies in the telecommunications, technology and media sectors—advising them 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).

As an FCC Bureau Chief, Mr. DelNero led a team of over 170 attorneys, economists, and other professionals in developing and executing policies to promote the deployment and adoption of broadband and other communications services throughout the United States. The FCC tackled major policy questions under his leadership—including landmark transactions between cable, broadband, and other telecommunications providers; net neutrality; privacy and data security; and enterprise broadband services. He also oversaw policymaking for the $8+ billion Universal Service Fund and its ongoing reforms to bridge the digital divide.