• The man from Messanges cut down his town's internet with jammer 
  • He has to pay a fine of $34,000 to cover the investigation
  • Jammers cut people's access to 911 during emergency 

A French man has been prosecuted after he unintentionally shut down his entire town's internet by installing a jammer at his home in a desperate bid to cut down his kids' screen time.

The unidentified man from Messanges, a beach town in south-western France, bought an internet jammer online and installed it at his home to reduce his children's screen time. He attempted to block the internet at his home between midnight and 3 a.m. when his children would be addictively using social media.

However, he unintentionally cut down the entire town's internet access with the jammer, authorities said, New York Post reported.

The use of wave jammers is illegal in France and the man now faces up to six months in prison and a hefty fine for illicit possession and use.

An investigation began after the local internet service providers received numerous reports from the residents that the internet has stopped working in the town that inhabits around 1000 people. The case was later escalated to the government’s National Frequency Agency (Agence Nationale des Fréquences or ANFR) that manages all radio frequencies in France.

The investigators used a radiogoniometry device and traced the issue to the jammer installed at the man's house, blocking both Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals. The investigation also revealed that the jammer blocked the town's internet access and blocked the internet for nearby towns, which often happens with such machines, authorities said.

"The radius of action of jammers is often wider than one thinks or than the seller suggests," ANFR said on their website according to translation.

In addition to the jail term, the man is expected to pay a fine of up to $34,000 along with a charge of $511 to cover the ANFR investigation.

representational image pixabay

The U.S. Federal law also prohibits "the operation, marketing or sale of any type of jamming equipment that interferes with authorized radio communications." The use of jammers is prohibited as signal jamming not only blocks people's day-to-day communication but also cuts their access to 911 in case of emergencies.