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Message 1 of 4

Phone line fault

I spent an hour discussing a phone line fault with a BT assistant today.


I have no dial tone and the phone does not ring. Broadband is working but with about 10dB greater attenuation than normal. I have a simple corded phone and two cordless phones connected via filters, and a home hub.


Before the call, I checked the incoming line from the street. I connected a digital multimeter and initially measured 18v between the two wires, and this slowly drfited down and settled at around 12v after a minute or so. I set the meter to measure current and connected across the two wires and got no discernable current.

This tells me that the line is open-circuit. I should normally measure about 50v, and get a short-circuit current around 50mA.


The assistant asked me to disconnect all equipment and filters, she ran a line test and said the fault was in my property. An engineer will come round at the end of the week.


With the multimeter measurements I made, how on earth can this be a fault in the property? She was insistent that it must be in my property. Any ideas?

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
Message 2 of 4

Re: Phone line fault

if you tried the test socket and get no line then problem outwith your control and need a openreach engineer.  it is possible for your broadband to work as that can work but slowly with only 1 wire connected


back to 151 and report a phone fault

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Aspiring Expert
Message 3 of 4

Re: Phone line fault

@kiloran34, when we had an identical problem to yours back in Sept 2013, the call centre staff insisted that the fault we had was internal to our property. I felt very frustrated at this as it was obviously an outside and underground fault! An engineer did find the fault in the 'drop cable' underground (50+ years old) and it was repaired in a reasonable time in our case - I hope yours gets sorted out very soon.
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Distinguished Guru
Message 4 of 4

Re: Phone line fault

Openreach have a magic bit of kit that measures the distance from the exchange to the fault.  Unfortunately, it isn't totally accurate and can't really tell the difference between a fault inside your house and one just outside.  I've twice been told that I had a fault inside the property when it was actually a broken wire at the pole.


You only get charged the call-out fee if it really is in your wiring, or if you broke Openreach's equipment.  However, "broke" can be interpreted quite broadly - if a wire has corroded through due to damp in your house, they may decide to charge you.

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