Imagine living in a place where your broadband went down daily, like clockwork, for over a year. That’s what happened to Aberhosan village in Wales. Every day at 7 a.m. for 18 months the whole village would lose their internet.
No one could figure it out; Openreach, the company that runs the UK’s digital network, had sent staff to the village repeatedly, and had even replaced cables in the area to try and solve the problem, and it all did no good.
Then, Michael Jones, a local engineer called in help from experts at the Openreach chief engineer team. After carrying out a plethora of tests, engineers had a theory that the problem could be caused by a phenomenon called single high-level impulse noise (SHINE), in which an appliance emits electrical interference that impacts broadband connectivity.
These engineers wandered around the village in heavy rains at 6 a.m. trying to locate an electrical noise. Then they found it. “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.” Jones said the resident was “mortified” by the news and “immediately agreed to switch it off and not use again.”
Since that old TV has been retired, there have been no more reported issues. What an incredible thing that an outdated appliance can interfere with such high technology. But it’s apparently more common than we realize.
Suzanne Rutherford, the company’s chief engineer’s lead for Wales, said “Anything with electric components — from outdoor lights to microwaves to CCTV cameras can potentially have an impact on your broadband connection.”
So before you go calling up your internet provider, perhaps see if any of your other electronics is the culprit behind your problem.