An old TV crashed entire town's broadband every day for more than a year

Electrical interference from the appliance knocked out internet services in a small Welsh town.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read

An old TV was responsible for knocking out internet services in an entire town every day for 18 months.


When everyone living in Aberhosan, a small town near Machynlleth in Wales, kept losing their internet connection at 7 a.m. every day for 18 months, broadband provider Openreach had to find the cause. On Tuesday, Openreach revealed it was caused by electrical interference from an old second-hand TV.

Local Openreach engineer Michael Jones spent months trying to track down the source of the problem, with large portions of cable even replaced throughout the town and surrounding areas. But in the end, an engineering team had to camp out in a field during COVID-19 lockdown to solve the mystery.

"By using a device called a Spectrum Analyser, we walked up and down the village in the torrential rain at 6 a.m. to see if we could find an 'electrical noise,'" Jones said in an Openreach blog post. "And at 7 a.m., like clockwork, it happened! Our device picked up a large burst of electrical interference in the village."

The phenomenon is known as SHINE -- single high-level impulse noise -- where an appliance emits electrical interference that impacts broadband connectivity.

"It turned out that at 7 a.m. every morning the occupant would switch on their old TV," Jones said. "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."

Aberhosan will be getting fiber internet later this year.

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