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Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Spiffle
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Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

I'm trying to troubleshoot a phone line problem my partner's having,  Her house is served by a BT phone line the last few yards of which are carried over her property between the public road and her house, so she's responsible for that bit.  She has phone service with BT and broadband with PlusNet.  The phone line enters her house at 2nd floor level at a BT wallsocket and then goes to three internal extension sockets, one of which has her router plugged into it via a splitter.  All sockets have a plain old phone connected via splitters.

Until a couple of weeks ago all worked well, except that the phones were crackly.  Since Xmas the phones have all become silent - no dial tone, no crackle, no workee.  The broadband is still working well - better than ever in fact!  Am I correct in assuming that the sockets and extension wiring must all (or at least the one to which the router's connected) be fine and that the problem must lie in the voice connection (the responsibility of BT)?  Thing is, I don't want to call BT in to investigate and then having them charge my partner over £100 because they trace the fault to the last section of the incoming phone line...  your comments and suggestions would be most welcome.  (I have made a preliminary call to BT who acknowledge there's a problem and say that they believe it is at the house end of the line, not at the exchange.)

20 REPLIES 20
jab1
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

This should be reported as a phone fault - no mention of broadband - to BT.

Your partners responsibility starts at the test socket (if the installation has a modern box) - anything prior to that is BT's responsibility, including the cable from the pole to her house.

My suggestion is to ensure all the splitters - which should actually be adsl filters - are fully plugged in - try removing and re-inserting them a few times to clear any oxidation.

Broadband can work (not optimally) only one of the 'legs' in operation, phones won't.

Have you got a proper, working, filter on the main (base station) phone socket?

John
Spiffle
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Thanks for your response.  My partner understands from BT that the last section of line from BT's pole (not located on her property) via further poles (on her property) is her responsibility, hence her concern.  The 'splitters' are indeed ADSL filters recently supplied by PlusNet, including on the main phone socket (I don't know what you mean by 'base station'.)  All terminal equipment (three phones and one router) are connected via the ADSL filters -- there was no change of connected equipment between the times when it all worked (albeit with phone crackle) and when it stopped working.  I don't  understand your sentence "Broadband can work ... phones won't."  What is the 'leg' you refer to?

runhare
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Hi. 

A couple of points. 

Your partner is not correct that the phone line outside her home is her responsibility. This would be the only property known to me in the uk where that was the case. It must be a misunderstanding.  The point of demarcation is always the test socket in the master socket.

to test the phone service you'll need to remove the front face plate of the master  socket and so in the process this will (should) disconnect the extension wiring and sockets. Plug the phone into the test socket . If there is no dial tone and calls cannot be made or recieved this is a phone fault. 

If you can get the router to connect to the internet using this socket and a micro filter then this points to a line break . Broadband can work at half speed on one of the two wires carrying the phone signal. This is because essentially internet signals are very high frequency 'radio waves' sent down a wire so if one of them is connected a good proportion of the signal gets through to the router. 

Hope this helps!

 

report a voice fault !

LaurenB
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Hi there.

 

 @jab1 is pretty much correct, Openreach's responsibility is anything from (and including) the test socket. Your partners responsibility is any internal wiring and the equipment being used.

The best way to rule out an internal issue would be to removed the face-plate of the master socket and connect a different handset (corded if possible and one that you know works fine elsewhere) to the test socket without a micro-filter. If the line is still crackly then it is highly unlikely anything internal could be the cause.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Lauren Barry
 Plusnet Help Team
jab1
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Her understanding is wrong - BT are responsible for everything up to the test socket on her main (incoming) box, anything after that is her responsibility.

Do I understand that the phones are all individual ones? Very strange these days, you usually have one 'main' phone connected to the master socket with others merely being on a charging cradle, but communicating with the base station by radio. Also, three phones plus the router is at the limit of what you can have connected to your phone line.

As regards the 'leg' comment - there are (or should be) only two wires connected inside the master socket - if one of those has a fault, your BB will operate, but the crackles &c you are experiencing point to fault with that wiring - or maybe in the cables between the house and exchange.

I'm no expert on this, BTW, and you have now heard everything I am comfortable with trying to explain.

Hopefully, either a PN staff member, or someone with more understanding, will pick this up.

Ooops @runhare and @LaurenB type faster than me.Smiley

John
azc
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

@jab1 I can't see that the router would count towards the REN 4 limit

jab1
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

@azc -I could be wrong - it's a long time since I read up on the subject.

John
runhare
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Routers don't count in REN calculations as they don't ring.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringer_equivalence_number

Spiffle
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

I don't think my partner's understanding is wrong -- your summary applies to most installations, no doubt, but the full statement made by BT is as follows (I've emboldened one of the items):

 

You'll be charged if the problem is caused by things like:

  • Your main socket, due to damage you've caused
  • Your home phone extension wiring
  • The way you've connected up your equipment
  • Interference from something else in your home, like your phone, alarm system, or a faulty microfilter
  • A faulty BT Home Hub that's out of warranty (your Hub is in warranty if you're in contract)
  • Damage caused by damp, flood, fire, or building work
  • Damage outside caused by things like broken guttering or trees
  • Telephone wires that have been accidently cut

We won't be able to tell you if there's a charge until after an engineer visits your premises. So it's worth trying our landline and broadband troubleshooters to test your line and run through some quick checks.

If we can't find a fault or fix the problem online, we'll give you the option to book an engineer appointment.

jab1
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Thanks, @runhare as I said, it's a while since I did my reading.Smiley

John
jab1
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

@Spiffle so you're saying the wire from the pole to the house is damaged by trees on your partners property?

John
runhare
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

Hi there, 

The statement  from bt is correct but it doesn't mean that the customer is responsible for the repair of any overhead or external phone wiring crossing their property. Any repair to damage to overhead lines must be carried out by Openreach however caused.

In my personal experience it's unlikely they will charge to repair overhead external damage  but if they do then you'll just have to bite the bullet and pay up.

I'd say a charge would apply if there was clear evidence that the customer has neglected to keep their property in good condition or prevented trees on the property from fouling phone lines. 

Its also worth noting that Openreach will not cut trees that are fouling lines. Customers must arrange for a tree surgeon to do this . 

But first if all you must eliminate the possibility of any problem with the wiring and telephone equipment inside the property as previously described, as you will be charged if a fault is found there. 

good luck ! 

 

Spiffle
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working

No, I'm just pointing out that the situation is sometimes more complex than "BT is responsible as far as the primary socket".  What I'm trying to do here is to try to diagnose where the problem is likely to be:  I'm assuming that it's a flaky or broken connection at some point;  if it's within the extension wiring then I will have to fix it, but if not then BT must fix it and if it's caused by line damage within the property boundary BT (and possibly tree surgeon) will make their charges.  I was hoping that the fact that the router is working properly means that the line through to that extension is fine, and perhaps that the fault lay in the exchange (perhaps due to the voice component to the line having been removed in error) but BT seem to think that the fault lies "at or near the house end of the line".

Summary: how can there be a problem with the physical line if the router is working happily when plugged into one of the extension sockets?  Perhaps something to do with the one-leg, two-legs thing that was mentioned, and which I fail to understand...

runhare
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Re: Troubleshooting Phone Outage When Broadband is Working


@Spiffle wrote:

 

Summary: how can there be a problem with the physical line if the router is working happily when plugged into one of the extension sockets?  Perhaps something to do with the one-leg, two-legs thing that was mentioned, and which I fail to understand...

 


Because Internet only needs one of the pair of wires in a phone circuit to work. There is no current flow required , only High frequency data transmission down the wire. ( Recently intenet data was successfuly transmitted in an experiment via a length of wet string.)

Alternatively there might be a short circuit in the phone cable so the phone would not work, but the internet would be fine as the connection would still exist.