The unusual outage went on for 18 months before a group of engineers discovered the issue

By Georgia Slater
September 23, 2020 09:50 AM
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Credit: Alamy

Residents of a village in Wales have finally discovered the reason behind why their WiFi was going out at the same time every day.

The village of Aberhosan was experiencing consistent broadband internet crashes for 18 months until engineers uncovered the root of the problem this week: an old television.

At 7 a.m. every morning, the village near Machynlleth endured "poor broadband connectivity and slow speeds" despite numerous visits from engineers to try and fix the issue, according to a press release published Tuesday from Openreach, the U.K.'s digital network business.

After failing to find the issue, local engineer Michael Jones decided to call in help from a "crack squad of engineers from the Chief Engineers Office" to investigate the issue.

"Having exhausted all other avenues we wanted to do one final test to see if the fault was being caused by a phenomenon known as SHINE (Single High-level Impulse Noise) where electrical interference is omitted from an appliance that can then have an impact on broadband connectivity," Jones explained.

The engineers used a device called a Spectrum Analyzer and "walked up and down the village in the torrential rain at 6 a.m. to see if we could find an 'electrical noise.' "

To their surprise, at 7 a.m, the device "picked up a burst of large electrical interference."

It was "like clockwork," Jones said.

"The source of the ‘electrical noise’ was traced to a property in the village. It turned out that at 7 a.m. every morning the occupant would switch on their old tv which would in-turn knock out broadband for the entire village."

After finding the source of the problem, the resident who owned the TV was "mortified" and "immediately agreed to switch it off and not use again."

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Openreach reported no further issues with the network since turning off the vintage television.

Suzanne Rutherford, Openreach's chief engineer lead for Wales, shared that this issue "isn't quite 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 explained.

To prevent this issue in the future, Rutherford recommends residents make sure their electric appliances are certified and meet the current standards.