Villagers of Aberhosan in Powys, Wales are relieved that Openreach engineers have finally gotten to the bottom of why the whole village's broadband was faltering at the same time every day. Repeated tests by Openreach, the company that manages the UK's phone and broadband infrastructure, had failed to highlight an issue in the network.

So, an Openreach team were dispatched to the village to carry out a different set of tests – specifically to explore whether the problem might be caused by REIN - Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise or a phenomenon called single high-level impulse noise, or ‘SHINE’. This is when an electrical device gives off unwanted electrical signals that can have an impact on broadband connections.

Many of the electrical or electronic devices which we use every day, such as smartphones, computers, radios, televisions and microwave ovens can develop a hidden fault that in some cases can lead to it emitting unwanted radio signals.

REIN is where this interference is generated for the duration of use of an electrical device and will typically result in disconnections or line errors while the device is in use. At its most extreme, REIN may prevent any connection being established at all.

In the case of the 7 am broadband issues in Aberhosan, the engineers were able to track the source of this fault to an unexpected source – one resident’s old tv set.

The physical characteristics of a copper wire telephone line make it vulnerable to interference and degradation of service, this is one of the reasons the Government are committed to creating a full-fibre network in the UK and will be switching off the traditional copper network in 2025.

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