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Jane17
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Message 1 of 7

No dial tone, very noisy line, can't make or receive calls, caller ID showing External

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Last Wednesday (14th), suddenly noticed interference on the line when taliking. This got progressively worse and broadband kept dropping for a day (although broadband it absolutely fine now). Then found I had no dial tone/could not dial out. When people dial in, the phone sometimes rings, i.e. the bell rings on the phone handset, sometimes it does not but it sounds as though it is ringing to the caller. When a call comes in, instead of the number coming up on Caller ID,. it only shows the word 'External'.  When the phone bell does ring and I answer it, I can hear really bad noise then the call just disconnects and a message comes on the display saying call disconnected. It has just rung now and on answering it could again only hear really bad noise. I donlt know it it appeared 'answered' to the caller or not.

 

The problem is the same on both cordless phones - one upstairs and one downstairs. The master phone of the two cordeless phones is plugged into the upstairs extension socket. The boradband box is plugged into the master socket downstairs.

 

I have looked on the BT site and run a line test - which 'came back OK' although I understand from forums this is not necessarily the case. I have also seen their steps to go though to check your equipment. I am loathe to do this as the broadband is working fine, I really need it for research, and am terrified if I unplug it, it might not work when I plug it in again!

 

I do not think it is the equipment - everything was working fine until last week. I have not added any new equipment at all. The two phones are cordless and about 10 months old. Broadband has been up and running with current company (not BT) for several years and has always been great. Sky TV has been plugged in for years with no problems. The phone lines/sockets have broadband filters fitted and these have not been changed recently.  

 

Having read forums about problems that customers have experienced in relation to facing huge unexpected BT bills taken by direct debit following a call out even when the problem was 'outside' and therefore BTs responsibility, I just cannot afford to end up in a similar position. 

 

Please can anyone advise what they think the problem night be from all the information I have provided and how best to proceed? I need the phone and the broadband and just don't know what to do for the best at this stage. Any help would be very gratefully received.

 

Many thanks.

 

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Distinguished Guru
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Message 2 of 7

Re: No dial tone, very noisy line, can't make or receive calls, caller ID showing External

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Hi and welcome to the Forum.

The only way to prove the fault one way or another is to plug a known working corded telephone into the test point of your main telephone socket, and I am afraid that whilst you do this you will loose connection on your broadband.

 

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Jane17
Beginner
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Message 3 of 7

Re: No dial tone, very noisy line, can't make or receive calls, caller ID showing External

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Thanks for the reply, Dave. I guessed that I was probably going to be told that!

 

OK, we unplugged everything around the house and my son duly unscrewed the plate and plugged a working corded phone into the test socket as shown in the diagram. The problem remained exactly the same with that phone. No dialing tone, terrible noise interference. We tried calling the line from my mobile phone. The phone rang, my son answered it and at first it did not make any connection - just carried on ringing from my end. I suddenly heard a lot of noise and could just about hear my son's voice. We would certainly have been unable to hold a conversation. I would imagine, if we has stayed on the line for a minute or so, it would have disconnected just like all the other calls had done when people tried to call me this past week. As you can see, from being able to send this message now, the broadband thankfully reconnected OK when plugged back in - so no issues there!

 

This is obviously going to mean a call to BT. Based on the fact that the BT line test (generated online from my computer via my account panel) said there was no fault on my line and the line test, using the test plug in the masterbox, shows that there is - where does that leave me? Arguing that their computer generated line tests are faulty?  I have just pulled up my account page which still has my fault logged as reported last Thursday. Below the fault log, the message appears saying to check the equipment and if the problem still exists then contact 151. As I only have my 02mobile phone to make contact and it seems people can spend an awful lot of time in a queue, is this the best way to request an engineer or can I do it by email? Do they respond to emails??

 

As the latest test shows the problems are not down to my equipment but presumably outside issues, are there any suggestions as to what the fault could be based on the problems I described (first posting) and that broadband is still working OK? (with 02).  I am asking this as a little knowledge is very useful when dealing with service engineers. It would be really helpful for me to know possible causes.  

 

Many thanks to Dave and people in general who take the time and trouble to respond to messages on this forum. Their support is much appreciated.

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Distinguished Guru
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Message 4 of 7

Re: No dial tone, very noisy line, can't make or receive calls, caller ID showing External

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It sounds like you have a high resistance (HR) line fault and the standard line test will not pick this problem up. You just need to keep on at 151 (or 0330 123 4151 from a mobile) they will read you the standard charging statement because as far as they are concerned there is no fault. You say that you have done the checks you would only be charged if the incoming cable is damaged within the confines of your property.
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Jane17
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Message 5 of 7

Re: No dial tone, very noisy line, can't make or receive calls, caller ID showing External

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Many thanks, Dave. That is really, really helpful. Can I just ask you something else? Given that you need only one phone line for both phone and broadband - how do some people, including me, still manage to get broadband if they've lost their dialling tone and have terrible interference on the line (not that I'm complaining - am vey thankful I've still got good access - just curious).

 

To set the request for an engineer's visit in motion, I contacted BT via the 'Contact BT' click option which they provide at the bottom of their pages (including this one). It also shows as 'Contact Us' in some places. After selecting the click options 'Technical Help' then 'A Faulty Phone Line', I discovered there is an Email option as well as the Phone option to make contact. As many forum visitors had expressed problems with making contact by phone, I chose the Email option. For the benefit of other users who can access broadband/internet to email, this (for me) worked very effectively. I completed a form wihere I had to provide name, email address, customer acount number, home phone number and another number where I could be contacted. I was also asked to indicate whether the fault was ongoing, how I would like to be contacted and best times for them to do so. After submitting that information, I was then asked to provide details of the problem.

 

I briefly detailed the exact problems by date when they occurred. I mentioned I had been on the BT forum and that I had been told to carry out the Masterbox test which had shown the problems still existed. I also mentioned that a helpful contributer had provided a possible reason for the fault. I think this is a useful thing to do.

 

I received immediate automated acknowledgement of the submission with a reference number and a message saying I would be contacted as soon as possible. Within 24 hours, I had received a personal email  expressing regret that I was experiencing problems and informing me that an appointment had been made for engineers to visit on Friday (tomorrow) between the hours of 1pm and 6pm. Below the email, BT had included a record of all the information I had provided on the Contact form I had submitted. Very useful as a written record of exact information provided rather than having to rely on memory of a verbal discussion.

 

My Account page, from where I can track the fault, confirms the appointment with engineers for Friday with a Reschedule Button should I need to change the appointment. Underneath that box is another box saying that they aim to resolve the problem by 6pm Friday 23 November.

 

It remains to be seen what happens tomorrow but, at the moment, I cannot fault this 'painless' method of making contact and very prompt receipt of an appointment time/date for the engiineer's visit (scheduled to happen within three days of reporting the fault). I would definitely advocate this method in preference to sitting it out in a queue which is a great deal easier on the nerves and the mobile bill.

 

I will be back to report on progress!

 

 

 

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Jane17
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Message 6 of 7

Re: No dial tone, very noisy line, can't make or receive calls, caller ID showing External

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Problem Solved - well done BT, Openreach and thankyou, Dave for responding on this forum! Smiley Happy 

 

Engineer arrived at 2.45 on appointed day within appointed timeframe. Said immediately he suspected that the fault was in the little grey connection box on the outside wall of the house. Box opened, he discovered tangled, really old wires that were basically 'knackered' (and looked it!) and said that was the root of the problem/causing the really bad interference and dropped connections. Duly fixed, he then discovered a secondary fault which was causing a small amount of noise. He expalined the issue - isolating the problem in the box against the garden wall on the pavement in front of the house and making a new trouble-free connection. He told me that many problems were being experienced (particularly courtesy of passing dogs) caused by damp in above-ground, street connection boxes on older estates and that they were now changing these boxes to new underground ones with new cables run to the connection box outside the house. He said that he would put me on the list to get it done so as to avoid future problems.

 

So BT and Openreach, full marks. I can't fault the service right from-

-providing access to a forum where you can receive reassurance and support

-responding to the email/online form I filled in requesting an engineer, within 24 hours, and providing details of appointment for a visit 2 days later

-providing exact details, for reference, of all the information I had sent them about the fault in their return email

-posting when the fault was reported, and all follow ups on my account notice board so I could track progress on the fault

-sending an extremely pleasant, experienced and competent engineer who took pains to explain what needed doing and why, and did not leave me with a unfixed, minor secondary fault which could have been the case late on a cold, Friday afternoon.

 

I wanted to write all this and will be writing to BT/Openreach management, for the reason that I explained to the engineer when I asked for his name and works number. On this forum we read of many bad experiences and problems with BT/Openreach. I firmly believe where we have good experiences we also need to make that known. Engineers and customer service need to know that when they do a good job, their work is valued and appreciated, and their bosses need to know it too. As they also need to know who provided the support, I will be naming names to them, i.e. the person in customer services who sent a personal email in response to my problem and made the speedy appointment, and of the engineer who sorted out my problems competently, knowledgeably and in a courteous manner. In that way, they can be held up as role models for others who provide a lesser service. And we know that they do exist. I will also be mentioning this forum and the initial support I received here.

 

My final point, based on my experiences, and from looking at postings on this forum by people who seem to have had really bad experiences with telephone communications - is, where you have access to a computer and a line that works (a friend/neighbour perhaps if your own line does not work) put your problems in writing! Not only was it so easy  (for me, anyway) - no waiting in a queue, no cost, no stress, no being passed from person to person, there is also another advantage. Writing on BT's form (you have space to write your problems) and sending it in, and the emails you receive back, provide a written record of how your case is being dealt with and, most important of all, who said what and when. It is your evidence and can't be denied by those who may then offer a less than an efficient/deplorable service. My problems were straightforward but for those who have major issues, I would also suggest that when writing your problems on the form, you ask questions such as 'These are my issues, please can you tell me how they will be addressed, when they will be addressed and by whom?' If you then still run into problems, you have the back up of BT Mods and other experts on this site (thanks guys), who appear to offer an excellent service, to whom you can make copies of these written communications available.

Just a suggestion - hope some people find it helpful.

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Message 7 of 7

Re: No dial tone, very noisy line, can't make or receive calls, caller ID showing External

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You can pass on feedback to Openreach using this form. It does get recorded and passed down to the visiting Field Technician.

 

Tell Openreach about their people, good or bad.