Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of my most commonly asked questions. If the answer to your problem is not listed please call me or send me a message Here

If you're having problems with making or receiving calls, check the dial tone. Lift the receiver to your ear, but don't dial a number yet. You should hear a steady, buzzing/purring sound.
If you cannot hear a dial tone, check that the phone line hasn't been pulled from the socket accidentally or damaged. Moving furniture can sometimes dislodge or crush wires, and in some cases damp in the walls can cause rust or damage to the socket or wiring, which will affect the connection.

Check that there is no damage to the telephone. If you have more than one, try a different phone in the master socket. If you hear a dial tone with a different phone, the problem may be with your handset. You may need to repair or replace this.

Check your phone connections

If you are having connection problems, such as the line being cut off during a call, the sound being very faint, noise/interference on the line or other line quality issues, try to isolate the problem.
If you have more than one phone connected to your home telephone line, check that none of them are off the hook. Ensure any telephone or power cables are securely plugged in to the correct sockets, and if you have a cordless telephone make sure that any batteries are charged. If there are volume settings, make sure these are not turned right down, and that each phone is set to an audible, comfortable level.

Unplug all equipment from the phone line

Unplug all devices plugged into your phone line. These may include:
  • Telephones, fax machines, computers
  • Sky boxes, Microfilters for your broadband internet connection, ADSL modem/router
  • Extension leads, adaptors/double adaptors

If you have one available to you, try plugging a working phone into the master phone socket. This is usually located where the telephone line comes into the premises.
If this has resolved the issue, then replace each piece of equipment one by one, checking the phone line each time to see if a fault occurs. If this reveals one of your pieces of equipment to be causing the problem, please contact the manufacturer of the faulty equipment.

Virgin Media Customers

Check out the Virgin media Service status area (available 24/7), where you can see if there are any known outages on the telephone network. You'll also be able to run some basic diagnostic checks on your telephone line to see if there's a fault there - and if there is, you can book an engineer online too.

Alternatively, you can test your home phone services by calling our automated phone service on 150 from your Virgin Media phone or mobile, or 0345 454 1111* from any other phone and select option 2.

* For details about how much it costs to call our team from a Virgin Media home phone, visit Call costs from other networks and mobiles vary.

The BT line coming into your premises will terminate at the BT Master socket. However, BT will only guarantee a service, whether it is Broadband or Telephone, to the Master test socket. This socket can be found behind the front plastic cover of standard BT (NTE5) sockets .

Why test from the Master test socket?

All other sockets in your premises (if present) and even the plastic front cover of the Master socket is an extension from the Master test socket. These cables can get damaged over time through use or by accident. This can cause a loss of connection or intermittency on your line. Testing your connection from the Master test socket will eliminate the internal extension wiring as being the cause of a fault. This test forms an important diagnostic step that resolves the vast majority of connection problems.

Testing from the Master test socket:

Before attempting this test please ensure that the Master socket in your premises is a standard BT (NTE5) socket. The socket will have a horizontal split through the middle of the front plastic cover, with two screws on the bottom half as illustrated below.
NOTE: Do not remove the screws if there is no horizontal line dividing the front plastic cover.

Remove the screws from the front plastic cover using a screw driver. Once the screws are removed, carefully pull the front plastic cover away from the rest of the socket. NOTE: The front plastic cover may not remove completely so should not be pulled away with excessive force.

The Master test socket should now be visible on the right hand side of the socket. Plug in an alternative/spare ADSL filter to the Master socket and reconnect all Broadband equipment. Ensure all equipment is powered on and retest your connection to the Internet. For speed and intermittency faults you may need to monitor from several hours up to three days to confirm stability through the test socket.

What to do if testing from the test socket resolves the issue:

If your connection issues are resolved by connecting at the test socket then the problem is most likely related to your equipment connected to the telephone line, electrical equipment or the internal wiring in your premises. The following tips should help you identify the cause. After each change monitor to see if the problem returns:

  • Disconnect everything from your telephone line and reconnect your ADSL modem at the original location it was in before the test socket test.
  • Re-introduce items to the telephone line one-by-one, ensuring they are connected through an ADSL filter.
  • Switch off electrical devices in your premises and switch on one-by-one or in different combinations.

If you identify a particular device is responsible then you may need to replace or repair it. If no particular device is responsible then the issue could be the wiring itself, in which case you should consider relocating your Broadband equipment to wiring that isn't faulty or get an expert to repair/reinstall the faulty wiring.

There are many possible reasons as to why you may be unable to get broadband or why you may suffer from slow broadband speeds. This guide may help you work out what your problem is, and how you can fix it.

Exchange not enabled

Not all BT exchanges are enabled yet, if this is the case for your exchange you might still be able to get cable broadband or if not mobile broadband.

Line length

Line length will effect your ability to get ADSL or your potential ADSL speeds.
Although you may be a stones throw away from your nearest BT exchange your line might in fact be using another exchange much further away.
Users with lines longer than 6km may struggle to get a reliable connection.

Poor line quality

Poor line quality can be caused by several things such as bad joints, corrosion and water ingress, all of which will affect your telephone cable's ability to provide you will reliable connection.

Fibre line

Some telphone lines are provided partly over a fibre optic connection which stops you being able to get a broadband connection. This is known as TPON.
Most areas within ADSL distance of the exchange already have a copper overlay scheme in place which may allow you to get broadband, however capacity can be strictly limited.

Incompatible product on line

Products such as ISDN, RedCare and FeatureNet service will prevent you from ordering ADSL on your BT line until they are removed.

Old or damaged internal wiring

If you have old or damaged internal wiring feeding your telephone extensions (which can cause slow broadband speeds), you may benefit from installing a VDSL faceplate. The faceplate is a filter which fits on the front of your Master socket and splits the phone signal as it comes into your property into a DSL and a voice circuit.
It presents you with an RJ11 socket for DSL and a standard BT phone connector. This faceplate can also improve the reliability of your connection.


A DACS is a line sharing device that allows two telephone lines to be provided over a single cable. Due to the way they work, they stop broadband from working on the line. DSL broadband internet connections cannot work on a DACS line as they rely on a copper pair running all the way to the telephone exchange.
Since BT's traditional telephone line service is contractually only required to support voice and fax communication, BT are not obliged to remove a DACS because of problems with modems.

BT Openreach have a policy of removing DACS if you order broadband and it is in place on your line, however it may increase the order time.

A DACS will not be installed if broadband and a telephone line are ordered together in a 'simultaneous provide'.

Master socket The master socket is the point in your home where the broadband signal is strongest, you'll get the best broadband performance and speed if you can connect your router to it directly. It's usually installed close to where the telephone line enters your property (sometimes this will be in the attic or a basement). Most look like the one pictured: a split faceplate socket with two screws holding the bottom section in. Some older sockets are not split and the screws and socket will be in the middle. If you don't have a master socket (some older properties don't), don't worry. Try and connect your router to the socket that's closest to where the telephone line enters your property.

Tangled extension cable A poor quality 'plug-in' telephone extension cable can increase interference on your line which will affect your broadband speed. A 'hard-wired' extension will be much better. If you have to use a telephone extension cable, use a new, high quality cable and with the shortest possible length. Tangled and coiled cables can cause interference.

When a phone line fails, it will simply go dead. However, this is a fault known as ring trip which will allow you to dial out and make calls, but will not allow an outside party to call in. The symptom is one very short ring, and the line when picked up will give only dial tone. When investigating ring trip problems, look for damage to wires running around the exterior of the house, - be aware water could be entering the line from a misplaced staple causing a situation where the resistance between ring and tip could be low enough to cause a problem. If possible look for corrosion 'verdigris' or dust on any conductors inside extension sockets (especially when exposed to higher than normal levels of humidity), also check for faulty telephones and modems.
Read more HERE

Each telephone line needs 2 wires or Legs to work correctly. Chances are the phone line is only working on one leg. You need both legs of the pair in order to hear a dial tone, but the ADSL element will quite happily continue to work (albeit at a reduced sync rate) on one leg. It's also possible that an open circuit on one leg is currently being bridged by water and as it dries out you will lose service again. Report this type of fault to your telephone line provider because these are nearly always found to be caused outside of your property.

First try relocating the base unit for testing purposes, to ensure that the unit is plugged into a working telephone jack and that the adapter is plugged into a working electrical outlet. Verify that the in-use charge light is lit.cordless phone Additionally, there may be interference if the base unit is located near any appliances, or if it is plugged into an outlet with other devices. Try plugging the base unit into an outlet of its own.

If you are still experiencing a problem after these preliminary tests, you should reset the phone. To do this, remove the battery from the handset, and disconnect the adapter and phone line. Leave the unit disconnected for 1 minute. Put the battery back into the handset and then place the handset on the base unit. Reconnect the adapter and phone line. Then test the unit. If you're still getting problems after these checks it may be that an additional extension is required, away from posible electrical interference.

REN measures the load a device places on the line when ringing. A normal BT line will support a REN of at least 4, in other words at least a total of 4 phones/fax/modems should work on any line so long as their REN figures added together don't exceed 4. The REN is normally found on a label at the base of the machine (near the green approval symbol). In practice you can quite often exceed this number because devices with a REN of 1 may actually have a real REN of only a fraction of 1.This is an anomaly of the test procedure used. Moreover many lines can drive a REN of more than 4. Note that some elderly fax and answering machines can have very high REN's (and they really are high!). If some or all of your phones fail to ring or some ring very anaemically then its possible you have exceeded the REN. Try unplugging devices until they work. You can get REN Boosters which will increase the ringing capacity of a line if desired, although if you get to this stage you should probably be thinking of installing a small PABX.

It's possible, but there are a few other reasons why your phone line could be noisy. You can try fixing many problems yourself.

Here are some easy things you can check:

Do you have a cordless telephone?

If you have a cordless phone, it may not be fully charged or the batteries may be flat. Please check your phones user guide.

Do you have Broadband on the line?

If you have broadband and the noise you are experiencing is a hiss, check that every piece of equipment connected to your line has a micro-filter connected. This includes all phones, satellite television digi-boxes, faxes, etc. Without micro-filters you may get interference on your voice calls and/or problems with your broadband, including low speeds and disconnection's.

Does the noise happen on all calls or a call to/from one particular number?

If you get the noise on one particular number, it's likely that the other number has a service problem.

Does the noise happen at a specific time of day, or under certain conditions, e.g. windy weather?

If it's related to weather conditions, there could be a fault on the line, however please follow the equipment and extension wiring checks below, to make sure they're not the cause of the problem.

Check for a fault on your telephone equipment

Please note: If you have an old style telephone that can't be unplugged, you won't be able to try these checks, so you'll need to report a fault online.

  1. Unplug all telephones, faxes, PC's, routers/modems, satellite television digi boxes, extension leads, adaptors and double adaptors from all your telephone sockets. If you have broadband, don't forget to unplug all micro-filters and your router or modem from the telephone sockets as well, as these may affect your telephone line - There shouldn't be anything left plugged into your telephone socket.
  2. Take one working corded (not cordless) telephone and plug it into the main socket. The main socket is usually where the telephone line comes into the premises. If the line is now quiet, your telephone line and any extension wiring are likely to be ok and the problem may be with one of your pieces of equipment.
  3. Test each piece of equipment by plugging them back in one at a time. Check for a noisy line. If one piece of equipment causes a noisy line, it might be faulty. Leave this piece of equipment unplugged and refer to any product manual supplied with it or contact the supplier.
  4. If you've checked all the equipment and you still have a problem, follow the steps below for checking your own extension wiring. If you don't have any extension wiring, you'll need to report a fault online or contact us.

Check for a problem with your own extension wiring

  1. If your problem still isn't fixed, we now need to check if your own extension wiring could be causing the problem:
    If your main socket looks like this socket, with a horizontal bar across the front template: BT phone Socket
    Carefully unscrew the 2 small screws and the bottom half of the faceplate should pull out. On the right hand side is a test socket. This connects you directly to the telephone line and bypasses any extension wiring you may have.

  2. Plug a working corded telephone into the test socket as below and see if there's still a problem, by making test calls from the telephone: Open BT phone Socket
    If your main socket doesn't have a horizontal bar across the front and looks like the picture below or something else: BT Master Socket
    You can't unscrew the face plate and you'll need to report a fault online.

  3. If there's no noise coming from the test socket, your internal wiring could be faulty. You now have the choice of repairing the wiring yourself or contacting a telephone maintainer, who is likely to charge you unless the wiring is covered by a warranty.

  4. If you're still getting the noise at the test socket, there could be a fault with the telephone line and you'll need to report this to your telephone service provider.
    If this is BT, you can identify, fix, report and track faults online at the Repair Centre.

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