An anonymous person living in the village of Aberhosan, Powys, was found to have caused broadband outages for the whole village for the last 18 months every time they switched on their old television.
An exhaustive investigation by frustrated Openreach engineers found that the disruption to broadband for the whole village, which mysteriously began at 7 am each morning, the time when the villager turned the TV on, led to the replacement of broadband cables in the village before the TV was singled out as the culprit.
The engineers used a spectrum analyser to identify the single high-level impulse noise (SHINE) that was emitted from an old, second-hand TV when it was switched on every morning at the same time. The SHINE caused enough electrical interference to down the broadband signal for the whole village.
The villager, who has not been named for obvious reasons, is reported to have agreed not to use the old TV again.
Many different household devices can produce radio interference that can affect broadband and Wi-Fi signals. These can include boilers, water heaters, any device with a motor inside, TVs, some types of Christmas lights, phone chargers, and even LED bulbs and dimmer switches.
Although there is no way of guarding against someone using a rogue TV that knocks out the whole signal for the village/town, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of interference to the signal (delivered over your telephone line) in your own home. These include:
- Not putting the router behind your TV or in the middle of mains cables.
- Connecting the router to a master socket where possible.
- Making sure that devices connected to the phone line have micro-filters.
- Removing any old, unused telephone extensions.
Also, it is a good idea to use devices in the home that conform to British Standards.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
For any businesses in the village, and anyone working from home, the daily broadband outages must have been highly frustrating and costly. It is a shame that the problem persisted for 18 months before it was resolved. Now more than ever, with home-working due to the pandemic, having a reliable and fast broadband connection is vitally important so it is also important to be aware, as mentioned in the information and tips above, of how to minimise sources of interference where possible. It is also worth noting that where there has been a broadband supply failure, a voluntary Code of Practice between the big broadband providers means that there is now an automatic compensation scheme in operation