Some months ago, I had to switch to mobile broadband whilst I had some building work done. Unexpectedly, the builders had ripped out all my phone wiring!
So the builders have gone and I need my connection to be reinstated. They got rid of everything, including the phone master socket, although they’d left the extension bell box in a corner because I specially asked. Luckily the ‘drop wire’ from the network is still there.
Putting in a Master Socket
So I looked up how to put in a Master Socket. This basically provides a termination to the exchange line and also separates the voice line from the broadband line (through a filter circuit). Although it’s straightforward, a YouTube video I watched (clearly made a few years back) pointed out that it was illegal to fit a Master Socket yourself. As I’ve said before, I worked as a student trainee for Post Office Telegraphs and Telephone (as it was then) and I remembered how ‘precious’ they were about it. In those days, of course, they owned everything including the ‘instrument’ as the phone was called. Telephones were permanently wired in and you couldn’t fit your own. Your instrument was rented and quite often your line was shared with a neighbour! They would say things like how an idiot householder could accidentally connect the phone line to the mains and this could electrocute a technician.
So I thought, well, I have a lot of things to do in the house, so I guess I will have to bite the bullet and get BT to do it. Today I called BT and after a long wait got through to a nice girl in Blackburn. ‘Oh’, she said, ‘Well we could do it for you but it will cost £130. But you could just buy a socket in a hardware store and do it yourself.’.. ‘Right’, I said, ‘But I thought that was illegal.’ ‘Oh, no. It’s perfectly fine and easy enough to do if the wiring is still there!’
I was gob-smacked. So I’ve ordered a very nice ‘genuine Openreach’ NTE5C socket (which probably means Network Termination Equipment’ via Amazon and will look forward to seeing how I get on. I haven’t yet tested the voltage on the line. If I remember right, there should be 50 v across the exchange pair as long as the line is still connected. From experience, you don’t feel this voltage, but it goes up to 75 v (AC) when ringing and this can give you quite a thrill.
I’m going to re-fit the original extension bell box as this is audible in the garden. Should be fun.
Wait for the next instalment soon!