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An old TV crashed an entire village’s broadband for 18 months

If your broadband keeps going haywire, maybe someone nearby is using an ancient television set.

News out of the U.K. this week revealed that such an issue knocked out the broadband connections for an entire village for more than a year.

According to Openreach, which operates the nation’s digital network, the broadband connection for the 400 residents of Aberhosan, Wales, would fail every morning at 7 a.m. But no one knew why.

Investigations by engineers showed that the network itself appeared to be working fine, but just to be sure, they decided to replace large parts of the cabling that served the village. But the issue persisted.

“As a team we’d been facing an ongoing issue in Aberhosan for months,” said Openreach engineer Michael Jones. “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 it.”

Jones continued: “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 U.K. to investigate.”

After much searching but no solution, the team took the decision to carry out one final test to see if the problem was the result of a phenomenon known as SHINE (Single High-level Impulse Noise). Such electrical interference, when omitted from an appliance, can affect broadband connectivity.

The engineers used a monitoring device called a Spectrum Analyzer to search for electrical noise that they hoped would lead them to the source of the problem.

Sure enough, at 7 a.m., the device detected a significant burst of electrical interference in the village. The source of the electrical noise was traced to a property in the village belonging to Alun and Elaine Rees.

“It turned out that at 7 a.m. every morning the occupants would switch on their old TV, which would in turn knock out broadband for the entire village,” Jones said.

When Alun and Elaine were told of the issue, they were “mortified” that their aging contraption was the cause of the village’s connectivity problems, and they agreed not to use it again.

Since then, the village’s broadband has been working fine, Jones confirmed.

Commenting on the bizarre happening, Openreach’s chief engineer for Wales, Suzanne Rutherford, said: “Sadly, this isn’t 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.”

If you’re still using an old TV and are now concerned that it might be wrecking other people’s internet, perhaps it’s time to consider getting a new one.

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Trevor Mogg
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