A villager was interfering with the broadband signal in a remote Welsh village for 18 months without realising, engineers for Openreach have discovered.
The man, who did not wish to be identified, was using an old television set that cut out Aberhosan’s broadband every time he switched it on.
The Guardian reports that engineers for Openreach, a division of BT, were sent to investigate the problem after residents complained about the signal stopping each day.
Unbeknown to the man, who turned his telly on every day at precisely 7am, an “electrical noise” would bring down the neighbourhood’s broadband.
For months, engineers couldn’t find the root of the problem. Openreach engineer Michael Jones said: “Not being able to solve the fault for our customers left us feeling frustrated and downbeat, but we were determined to get to the bottom of it.
“As a final resort we decided to bring in a crack squad of engineers from the chief engineers office who were based in other parts of the UK to investigate. 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 emitted from an appliance that can then have an impact on broadband connectivity.
“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. And at 7am, like clockwork, it happened. Our device picked up a large burst of electrical interference,” he said.
Jones explained that the source of the issue was then easily identified. “As you can imagine when we pointed this out to the resident, they were mortified that their old secondhand 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, Openreach chief engineer’s lead for Wales, said outdoor lights and even microwaves can potentially have an impact on broadband connections.
“We’d just advise the public to make sure that their electric appliances are properly certified and meet current British standards,” she said.
Aberhosan residents added that they wanted to ensure their neighbour had chucked the TV away. Retired builder Bill Childs, 79, said: “We’ve had broadband problems for as long as I can remember. In the past few years we must have had 30 to 40 engineers to the house.
“I need the broadband to do my grocery shopping. I’m almost 80 and with Covid especially I rely on my shopping to be delivered.”