Village broadband mystery finally solved after 18 months of signal failure

·3-min read
The broadband mystery has finally been solved in Aberhosan, Wales - Jeremy Bolwell/Athena
The broadband mystery has finally been solved in Aberhosan, Wales - Jeremy Bolwell/Athena

Every day, without fail, for 18 months, an entire Welsh village lost its broadband connection on the dot at 7am.

The mystery left residents and engineers utterly baffled and frustrated.

Unable to get online, the 400-strong population of Aberhosan, Powys, repeatedly called telecoms experts, who in turn, regularly descended on the village in a bid to identify the problem.

In a desperate, and rather costly attempt to solve the problem, they even replaced the area’s cables.

But still, much to their bemusement, the signal continued to plummet from 7am.

Eventually, engineers launched an investigation, bringing in a “crack squad” from other parts of the UK.

Equipped with a specialist monitoring device called a Spectrum Analyser, the team was dispatched to scope the village from dawn.

Michael Jones, an Openreach engineer, said: "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.

The device led the engineers to one middle-aged couple’s home, where they found the source of the problem. 

The residents, Alun and Elaine Rees, were “mortified” to discover that their old, second- hand television set, which was switched on at 7am every morning for the news, was emitting electrical interference that affected the broadband signal.

“As you can imagine when we pointed this out to the resident, they were mortified that their old TV was the cause of an entire village's broadband problems,” Mr Jones said.

“They immediately agreed to switch it off and not use it again.”

He added: "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 of it.”

However, despite Openreach’s triumphant claims, villagers including Mr and Mrs Rees’s own son, Aled, insisted that their internet problems persisted, long after the offending television had been scrapped.

Mr Rees told The Telegraph: “This Mr Jones must be smoking something funny if he thinks it’s got anything to do with the TV.

“My parents had only had the TV a few months, and it was a flat screen plasma. The internet problems in the village had been going on for much longer than that and they are continuing today, even after they got rid of the TV.

“I’ve no idea why Openreach are saying this - they’ve got to blame somebody and they’re not going to blame themselves.”

Eirian Hughes, 63, said: “This story is just a smokescreen, and the fact is, it’s costing too much to connect to fibre. The broadband service is rubbish. It’s a farce. It took four-and-a-half hours last week to try and upload a one minute and 37 seconds video.”

Farmer Geraint Jones, 60, said the connection speed was still “worse than appalling.”

An Openreach spokesman said: “It’s true to say the villagers were already having to put up with broadband on an old slower copper network – but the faulty TV set was clearly interfering with the existing service and we’re delighted to have solved that particular mystery.

“We did point out that broadband in the village was already slow – so we’re pleased  to say the village is now inline to be upgraded imminently to superfast broadband which will improve matters even more.”

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