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Old TV causes broadband outages in village for 18 months

Claire Hayhurst, PA
·2-min read

An old television being switched on each morning caused an entire village to be left with poor broadband for 18 months.

Openreach engineers made repeated visits to the rural village of Aberhosan, near Machynlleth, Powys, due to connectivity issues and slow speeds from 7am each day.

Tests showed the network was working fine and the engineers even replaced large sections of cable that served the village, but the problem persisted.

An investigation revealed a burst of electrical interference in Aberhosan at 7am each day, which was traced to a property in the village.

Openreach engineers
Openreach engineers (Joe Giddens/PA)

The “mortified” householder confirmed that they switched on their old television at that time every day – causing the broadband in the village to be affected.

They immediately agreed to switch off the television and not to use it again.

There have been no further issues reported with the broadband network in Aberhosan.

Michael Jones, a local engineer for Openreach, said the company’s chief engineering team helped to solve the mystery by using a spectrum analyser to look for a phenomenon known as Shine (single high-level impulse noise).

“We walked up and down the village in the torrential rain at 6am to see if we could find an ‘electrical noise’ to support our theory,” Mr Jones said.

“And at 7am, like clockwork, it happened. Our device picked up a large burst of electrical interference in the village.

“The source of the ‘electrical noise’ was traced to a property in the village.

“It turned out that at 7am every morning the occupant would switch on their old TV which would in turn knock out broadband for the entire village.

“As you can imagine, when we pointed this out to the resident they were mortified that their old second-hand TV was the cause of an entire village’s broadband problems, and they immediately agreed to switch it off and not use it again.”

Suzanne Rutherford of Openreach said such issues are not as rare as people may think.

“Anything with electric components – from outdoor lights to microwaves to CCTV cameras – can potentially have an impact on your broadband connection,” she said.

She advised people to ensure their electrical appliances are properly certified and meet British standards.

Aberhosan will be connected to fibre broadband later this year as part of Openreach’s work with the Welsh Government to expand the network in rural Wales.