Conspiracy theorists caused a four-day rural internet blackout after they attacked a 5GHz broadband box in the misguided belief it was a 5G provider.
Homes in Norwood Park on the outskirts of Somerset were left without internet after a box at Paddington Farm was targeted by vandals.
It is the latest of a spate of attacks thought to have been carried out by conspiracists who blame the spread of coronavirus on the roll-out of 5G mobile phone coverage.
Damage to the box, operated by connection providers Voneus Broadband, left the Norwood Park area with little to no connection between May 7 and May 10.
Those behind the vandalism allegedly left a sign which read ‘Check out the 5G at Paddington Farm’ opposite a nearby pub in order to gloat about their actions.
The people responsible had confused 5G mobile network facilities with the FWA broadband operated by Voneus, which is completely separate and uses a radio wave of 5GHz.
“The service was down from Friday 7 May to the following Monday,” a spokesman for Voneus said. “While we have fixed the issue temporarily, the network is still a bit unstable owing to the damage.
“Given the vandals were looking to target a 5G mobile mast, the damage and disruption would have been far greater had they not gotten confused.”
Adam Goodman, project manager at Voneus, said that the attempted protest was ultimately futile in light of the misunderstanding.
"The vandals disrupted their community thinking they were sticking it to 5G (5th generation mobile technology), when in fact, they damaged a 5GHz (five gigahertz) broadband transmitter instead,” he said.
“The act was not only criminal but also completely pointless and did nothing for their protest.”
The equipment has now been repaired by the broadband company, although the connection remains fragile, while CCTV is now in place at the site in order to prevent any future damage.
A 5G mobile phone mast was attacked in Chelmsford in February, which led almost 3,000 people to lose their mobile phone and internet access for several days.
Avon and Somerset Police has urged anyone with any relevant information to contact officers on 101.