Two French towns were knocked offline for several nights after a parent’s misguided attempt to curb their children’s internet use, according to local reports.
Residents of Messanges and a neighbouring town in south-west France lost access to the internet and phone signal from midnight to 3am across multiple dates when an unnamed man used a multi-wave band jammer, France Bleu reported.
The unnamed man faces a €30,000 fine and up to six months in prison if found guilty of causing the mass outage.
A mobile phone operator was first alerted to the issue when one of its antennas stopped working in Messanges.
A technician from the Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) went to the site with equipment to detect where the disruption was coming from.
Using a portable reader, the technician discovered hostile waves coming from a house, where a man reportedly admitted to using a jamming device to prevent his children from using the internet late at night.
The alleged culprit believed he was only blocking the WiFi and phone signal of his house, though the ANFR warned that these devices often have a “wider range” of impact than vendors typically advertise.
They work by emitting a powerful signal on the same frequency as a phone or WiFi operator, preventing devices from receiving the intended signal.
An incident report posted to the ANFR’s website noted that the suspect’s children had “become addicted to social networks and other applications” since the lockdowns imposed during the pandemic.
“After consulting forums on the internet, the father had decided that a jammer was the best solution to put an end to these excesses,” the report stated.
“A radical solution, but above all illegal and disproportionate. The equipment did not just jam his house but also his neighbours, the inhabitants of his town, and the inhabitants of the neighbouring town.”