Sun outages expected Sept. 30 to Oct. 13

Dear TDS Customers,

Each spring and fall, TV service for TDS customers experience a technical phenomenon called “sun outages.” This fall, the solar satellite interference are expected from Sept.30 to Oct. 13. During this period the sun causes solar interference for all geostationary satellite signals. For any specific city, please review the SES website.

Solar interference happens when the sun’s path across the sky gets lower each day. During the spring and fall for about two weeks, the sun is directly behind the line of sight between an Earth station and a satellite that is sending signals to a receiving satellite antenna here on earth. When the antenna is looking into the sun, the interference from the sun overrides the signals from the satellite. The sun causes “solar interference” to all geostationary satellite signals. It generally happens from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The effects of a sun outage vary in degree from minimal to total outage throughout the nine days. Sun outages typically last as long as 15 minutes a day.  Once it reaches its peak, the interference will gradually decrease, becoming less noticeable each day. Some channels will experience “macro-blocking” or “tiling” of the picture before and after peak times. These are the channels we receive digitally from the satellite. The duration and severity of the outages will vary from a slight interruption in reception for a few seconds to complete loss of signal for several minutes at a time.

In general, fall sun outages in the United States will take place during the last week of September and the first two weeks of October. 

Unfortunately, there is technically nothing TDS can do to prevent sun outages from occurring. Each satellite service that we receive signals from will experience this interference in the time frame mentioned above.

By Cheryl McCollum, Associate Manager – Communications


About Garrett Seymour

Garrett works on the Corporate Communications team as a Brand Journalist. On a day-to-day basis, he helps tell TDS’ story through a variety of multimedia tools on various online venues. In May of 2020, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Journalism School with a degree in Strategic Communications. He also has a passion for emerging communication methods and received a certificate in Digital Studies. Originally hired as a Corporate Communications Intern in college, Garrett is thrilled to be a part of TDS’ diverse and inclusive company culture.
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