For 18 months, the village of Aberhosan in Wales was plagued by a modern-day enigma. At around 7am every day, broadband connectivity in the community would mysteriously slow down to a halt.
Over the course of a year and a half, residents in the village of Aberhosan near Machynlleth in rural Wales would regularly complain to their Internet providers, who would send out engineers to take a look and fix the problem. But whenever they came to investigate, the network would usually be found working just fine.
With complaints continuing to flow in, engineers replaced large sections of cable serving the area, despite never finding the problem itself.
“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 in a statement.
“By using a device called a Spectrum Analyser 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 in the village.”
That large burst of electrical interference was found to originate from a resident’s property in the village.
It turned out that at 7am every morning the occupant would switch on their old TV like clockwork, which promptly knocked out broadband for the entire village from that moment every day!
Yupp, at 7am every morning the Internet was wiped out in the entire village due to one person setting down to watch ‘Homes Under The Hammer’, as the TV-guide for period suggests.
“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,” Jones said.
That said, the phenomenon isn’t as rare as people would think, the team noted. Although old electronic devices do not usually cause problems on a village-wide scale, many of them can cause similar problems through having roughly the same frequency as your Wi-Fi.
“Anything with electric components – from outdoor lights to microwaves to CCTV cameras can potentially have an impact on your broadband connection,” Suzanne Rutherford, Openreach Chief Engineer’s Lead for Wales, said.
Lesson? Well, a person’s totally boring tendency to watch TV at 7am every morning can turn life in an entire Welsh vilage even more boring. Or something like that.
Indeed, this is now scientific knowledge.