“The ‘SAS team’ of telecom engineers were called in after service collapsed at 7am every morning.
A Welsh village’s broadband mystery has finally be been solved after 18 months of frustration for residents.
Telecoms engineers turned detectives to probe what was plaguing the broadband connections of residents living in the Powys village of Aberhosan near Machynlleth.
For months villagers – along with some neighboring communities – endured poor broadband connectivity and slow speeds every morning at 7am despite repeated visits by engineers to fix the fault.
Frequent tests proved that the network was working fine and local engineers even replaced large sections of cable that served the village - but the problems remained.
Local Openreach engineer Michael Jones to called on the assistance of colleagues from Openreach’s Chief Engineer team – described as the company’s telecoms equivalent of the ‘SAS’.
Michael said “As a team we’d been facing an ongoing issue in Aberhosan for months.
“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.
“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 UK to investigate.
“Accommodation was understandably hard to find due to the Covid-19 lockdown but we did eventually manage to find a guest house with a field near Llandrindod Wells, so the team camped there and made the 55-mile journey to Aberhosan early the next morning.
“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.
“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.
“The source of the ‘electrical noise’ was traced to a property in the village.
“It turned out that at 7am every morning the occupant would switch on their old TV which would in-turn knock out broadband for the entire village.
“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 again.”
Since locating the cause of the fault that has dogged not only the residents of Aberhosan but also properties surrounding the village, there have been no further reported issues with the network.
Openreach Chief Engineer’s Lead for Wales, Suzanne Rutherford, said: “Our team were delighted to have been able to solve the broadband mystery in Aberhosan and it’s testament to their determination and commitment.
“Sadly this isn’t quite as a 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.
“We’d just advise the public to make sure that their electric appliances are properly certified and meet current British Standards and if you have a fault, report it to your service provider in the first instance so that we can investigate.”
In further good news for the Aberhosan community, the rural village will be connected to fibre later this year as part of Openreach’s work with Welsh Government to further expand the fibre broadband network in rural Wales.”