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sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON

How to get Bell to fix problems with POTS line?

A relative in Windsor has had intermittent problems with their phone service since moving into their current house about 3 years ago. This problem has manifested itself as "scratchy" noise they hear on the phone and a loss of Bell dsl service. There has been about 4 or 5 service calls so far where the technician spends most of his time at the pole.

The most recent situation is that on the really hot days, their phones lose dial-tone around noon and it comes back by itself later in the evening. During this time when the phone is picked up, you hear static or scratchy sounds. Interesting thing is that internet connectivity is fine.

The copper telco line runs down a pole at the street and under their front yard for about 100 ft and then into the house.

It's been very dry and hot in Windsor over the past month or two, so I wouldn't expect this to be a water-related problem with any above-ground wires or equipment, but they do have an irrigation system so the soil might not be totally dry where the drop is running from the pole to the house.

What sort of equipment or device can they STRONGLY SUGGEST that the next Bell Tech use to discover what must obviously be a problem in the underground portion of the drop such that Bell runs a new line to fix this problem ONCE AND FOR ALL.

?????

Is this an issue that can I can stick-handle through the direct forum and FORCE BELL TO DISCOVER AND CORRECT any possible problem with the drop that they seem to want to avoid doing?



DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2

said by sm5w2:

Is this an issue that can I can stick-handle through the direct forum and FORCE BELL TO DISCOVER AND CORRECT any possible problem with the drop that they seem to want to avoid doing?

Sounds like a ground problem. Call 611 and insist the problem be fixed. They will likely find a spare pair and switch them.
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


llort

@rogers.com
reply to sm5w2

Sounds like a bad buried service wire especially since you lose dial tone sometimes. If the tech finds no trouble them say that the city was mucking around by the easement and since then your line went bad. If he buys it then he would place a temp and start the process to get the drop replaced.



Anonymuss

@rogers.com
reply to sm5w2

Sounds like a partial open/loose connection related to thermal expansion/contraction.

There is no specific device or equipment that can be used to detect non existant problems.

If we can't see the problem at the time, we can't fix it.

We CAN blindly change things and hope that solves the problem, but with performance numbers restricting us to less than 1hr 30mins per job, we don't have time to just play around.

Expand your moderator at work


sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
reply to Anonymuss

Re: How to get Bell to fix problems with POTS line?

> There is no specific device or equipment that can be used to detect non existant problems.

I thought there was a gizmo (reflectance meter?) that can tell you that the wire has a problem so-many-feet from the test point. ???

And why can't the drop be disconnected at both ends and then metered to ground to see if there's a low-resistance path to ground (indicating an insulation break) ???

And while the drop is disconnected at both ends, short the wires together at one end and then measure the loop resistance at the other end and see if it meets spec. ???

Why wouldn't it be normal or standard to do ANY of those things after, say, the 3'rd or 4'th call ?!?!?!

Or perhaps the line technicians have little to no understanding of basic electrical theory?



Glen1
These Are The Good Ol' Days.
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
GTA Canada
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Bell Fibe
reply to sm5w2

"Static" as it is called is one of the most difficult troubles on a telephone line. The trouble has to be there for a technician to find it. The meters that are used now can test the line and find the location of a "high resistance" open if it is used properly, however there could be more than one source of the issue. Keep calling and hopefully the trouble will be there when the technician arrives so that he can properly "sectionalize" the problem. I have seen static in handsets, protectors and even dsl ports just to name a few. Patience is required here...don't assume it is in the buried service wire just because it is there.
--
My Canada includes Quebec.
Disclaimer: If I express an opinion, it is my own opinion, not that of Bell or its related companies.



Anonymuss

@rogers.com
reply to sm5w2

said by sm5w2:

> There is no specific device or equipment that can be used to detect non existant problems.

I thought there was a gizmo (reflectance meter?) that can tell you that the wire has a problem so-many-feet from the test point. ???

You're probably thinking of a TDR (time-domain reflectometer), but I'm not sure if it will do exactly what you're thinking it will.

Besides not all techs have a meter capable of that test, only IPTV guys would.

Even those who do have the meter hardware capable of doing that, the TDR software app on the meter has been disabled by Bell in the firmware because they feel it's too advanced for us to be using and wouldn't understand it because it's not part of the training, or they never purchased it as part of the software package to the meter for the same reason, so that menu option is greyed out and you can't access it.

said by sm5w2:

And why can't the drop be disconnected at both ends and then metered to ground to see if there's a low-resistance path to ground (indicating an insulation break) ???

This can be done without disconnecting the drop, and would measure the drop and the sections beyond. If the tech doesn't see anything when all the sections are connected together, he's not going to see anything on just the drop.

said by sm5w2:

And while the drop is disconnected at both ends, short the wires together at one end and then measure the loop resistance at the other end and see if it meets spec. ???

This actually isn't a standard test, and there certainly isn't a spec for it, but I do this on ocassion when I suspect it is needed to check for a partial open.

Find out the gauge of copper inside the drop, measure the drop length, look up online the ohms per foot reading for that gauge, times it by how many feet the drop is, then double it for the round trip.

Take that number down, and the next time a tech is out, see if he's willing to try looking for a short on the far end that matches near the number you've got.

said by sm5w2:

Why wouldn't it be normal or standard to do ANY of those things after, say, the 3'rd or 4'th call ?!?!?!

Have your calls been towards the end of the day? Try booking a morning call so the tech isn't thinking about rushing to get home.

said by sm5w2:

Or perhaps the line technicians have little to no understanding of basic electrical theory?

In all honesty, most don't. Alot of guys can't even spell.

RickStep
Premium
join:2002-11-25
Hamilton, ON
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to sm5w2

said by sm5w2:

Is this an issue that can I can stick-handle through the direct forum and FORCE BELL TO DISCOVER AND CORRECT any possible problem with the drop that they seem to want to avoid doing?

1. Intermittent problems are always the hardest to fix.
2. Bell’s repair within 3 or 4 days means Bell won’t show up before the problem evaporates (no truer word to use here).

With reference to the buried drop; Bell can run a temporary line on the ground or run an aerial cable to prove whether the drop is an issue.

If the problem goes away it’s the drop if it doesn't, the buried drop can be reconnected and the new (temporary) line removed.

We had a similar issue here a few years ago. The line would hiss or crackle and when at its worst would be dead. Problem was worst after rain or heavy dew. Phone was usually great at the hottest part of the day. The problem took close to 9 months to fix. When a tech showed up the problem wasn't there.

Finally an arrangement was made for Bell to show up within a couple of hours of a call. 2 full sized vans showed up and they took down the drop and replaced it. Problem solved.

Here is the anatomy of my problem; time line is not exact.

Many years ago Bell replaced the aerial cable on poles in the alley behind our house. To do that, any clamps (span clamps) that attach to the strand are removed whether for Bell, Cogeco etc. so the new cable can be lashed into place. About 7 years after that there would be periodic crackles on the phone when really windy. Over the next year, the problem got worse but service not interrupted. Internet was good. Called Bell; no resolution.

Over the last 9 months before the phone service was repaired; it was a crap shoot as to whether the phone would work; Internet was good, never slow.

When 2 Bell techs came that very rainy day to replace the drop (a 6 pair areal drop) and corrected the problem I asked what caused the problem. Their response was obviously a defective drop.

To slice through this, the 3 of us stretched the old drop down the sidewalk and located the cause. When the span clamp was re-installed for our home, the 6 pair was pinched between the clamp and the strand. Rain or heavy dew was causing electrolysis between the zinc plating (galvanizing) and the copper conductors.

Unless you can get Bell to the home when the problem exists, it may take months to be resolved.

Good luck.

Rick

Edit: one of these days I will always spell aerial properly.

InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5
reply to sm5w2

said by sm5w2:

I thought there was a gizmo (reflectance meter?) that can tell you that the wire has a problem so-many-feet from the test point. ???

The problem with TDR and most other troubleshooting tools/techniques is that none of them will reliably locate intermittent problems while they are absent if the line goes back within specs between occurences.

That's what makes intermittent problems so troublesome.


Glen1
These Are The Good Ol' Days.
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
GTA Canada
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Bell Fibe
reply to sm5w2

Many times what I will do is "replace something" on a frequent trouble like this. I would replace the outside wire or "drop" on spec or the cable pair...something that I know could cause the trouble. Hopefully doing so will fix the trouble but it is always guess work on where the trouble might be. When it is in the buried service wire, changing the pair or splitting the pair might be the only way to go...otherwise now is the best time to dig up the ground, before the frost sets in. The trouble has to be "proven" first...located exactly before action can be taken. Some techs will give a customer their cell number so they can call them directly and try to come over as soon as the trouble reappears...tough call.
--
My Canada includes Quebec.
Disclaimer: If I express an opinion, it is my own opinion, not that of Bell or its related companies.



llort

@rogers.com
reply to sm5w2

Look, this is not rocket science we're dealing with here. The OP described the plant as being aerial fed to buried service wire, so if the techs that came before didn't find any trouble they should of changed either the feeder, distribution, or buried service wire pair (or place a temp). If they didn't do anything then obviously the trouble will never get fixed or identified. A NID should be installed and the client can check for dial tone/static and prove if the trouble is inside the house or outside when the trouble occurs. If they have ndt or static when they plug a set into the nid then borrow a known good set from someone just to be absolutely sure there is indeed trouble outside and not trouble with the set.



Anonymuss

@rogers.com

Buried wire in an aerial environment for cosmetic reasons is considered CPE, and is the customers responsibility, so let's get a NID on that pole!



llort

@rogers.com

said by Anonymuss :

Buried wire in an aerial environment for cosmetic reasons is considered CPE, and is the customers responsibility, so let's get a NID on that pole!

What's next? Customers hooking up extension cords and inside wire to the pole? No. The NID must be grounded and the only pratical way to ground a pole mounted nid would be to install a grounding rod but no tech is going to do that. They will just replace the bsw and finish the job.

RickStep
Premium
join:2002-11-25
Hamilton, ON
kudos:1

4 edits
reply to sm5w2

said by Glen1:

Many times what I will do is "replace something" on a frequent trouble like this. I would replace the outside wire or "drop" on spec or the cable pair...something that I know could cause the trouble. Hopefully doing so . . .

I agree with Glen1.

If you wait to catch / trap an intermittent problem it can take months.

Once you get into the second service call (unresolved) and the information from the customer is “manifested itself as "scratchy" noise they hear on the phone and a loss of Bell dsl service”; the best way to resolve the issue is to eliminate a potential issue by doing something.

If there are (hypothetically) 20 possible causes; checking, changing or replacing 1, 2 or 3; devices and wiring; the problem has to be within the area that has not been checked or changed out.

Doing nothing on 4 – 5 service calls resolves nothing and increases Bell’s end costs because Bell has to resolve the problem eventually.

said by llort :

said by Anonymuss :

Buried wire in an aerial environment for cosmetic reasons is considered CPE, and is the customers responsibility, so let's get a NID on that pole!

What's next? Customers hooking up extension cords and inside wire to the pole? No. The NID must be grounded and the only pratical way to ground a pole mounted nid would be to install a grounding rod but no tech is going to do that. They will just replace the bsw and finish the job.

The Bell system has some of the best grounds and the strand to which the cable is lashed is well grounded. The ground wire connected to the strand could be run down the pole to a pole mounted NID.

Bell could also use 2 pair aerial drop with messenger down the side if the pole to a NID and use the messenger as a ground.

Rick

Edits:

Uploaded a .png image (several times) and for whatever reason it shows a blank area. Image removed.

ctownsend

join:2007-07-10
Ottawa, ON

1 edit

I am having these same issues for about 5 years now.

Funny thing last year it worked great up until 2 months ago. Trouble is (just like yours), when they come to my home, the lines have time to dry out.

Two days ago the problems started when I watered my lawn.
Today, problems again after it rained.

So far the technicians have never been able to solve the problem. One tech went as far as to say that the lines in the area are old, just live with it.

I will post my solution here if they figure it out.

By the way, my phone is also noisy but my internet connection is very poor when the problem occurs.

Today they are sending yet another tech guy. We will see if they have the troubleshooting skills to figure this one out.



ChuckcZar

@teksavvy.com

Everything seems loused up in Ottawa.


mintaka905

join:2006-11-03
Holland Landing, ON
reply to Anonymuss

Oh right only 1 30min. hahaha... never heard of anyone at bell fired for taking the time to fix the job.

line is half open, can be found if the tech cares to follow up with the customer.

WTF.


mintaka905

join:2006-11-03
Holland Landing, ON
reply to Anonymuss

ha ha ha rushing home. what are you doing on a pole in the dark anyway? ha hah haha ha



QuantumPimp

join:2012-02-19
Reviews:
·voip.ms
reply to ctownsend

said by ctownsend:

I am having these same issues for about 5 years now.

Sorry I can't help :-( At least I can offer that I had the exact same issues you are describing. No problems for over ten years then all of a sudden POTS was unreliable and internet speeds were terrible. One of the symptoms was my line would ring every once in a while for no reason. The problem was intermittent and mostly depended on rain.

The first technician climbed the pole and did something. The problem was fixed.

A second problem occurred within a week. The line noise was so bad that the Bell agent taking the information for the ticket could barely hear me. This made it easy to capture exactly what was happening. The problem was intermittent so I considered myself lucky!?

The second technician found that the line had been sliced, discoloured, and causing a short. Looked like a lightning strike or possibly a friction burn ... I dunno. A new line fixed the issue.

In the end Bell did a fantastic job finding and fixing the problems. After each support call Bell showed up the next day. I felt like royalty

InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

said by QuantumPimp:

In the end Bell did a fantastic job finding and fixing the problems. After each support call Bell showed up the next day. I felt like royalty

POTS is classified as a mandated essential service so repair requirements for it are much tighter than most other consumer services.


llort

@rogers.com
reply to RickStep

said by RickStep:

said by Glen1:

Many times what I will do is "replace something" on a frequent trouble like this. I would replace the outside wire or "drop" on spec or the cable pair...something that I know could cause the trouble. Hopefully doing so . . .

I agree with Glen1.

If you wait to catch / trap an intermittent problem it can take months.

Once you get into the second service call (unresolved) and the information from the customer is “manifested itself as "scratchy" noise they hear on the phone and a loss of Bell dsl service”; the best way to resolve the issue is to eliminate a potential issue by doing something.

If there are (hypothetically) 20 possible causes; checking, changing or replacing 1, 2 or 3; devices and wiring; the problem has to be within the area that has not been checked or changed out.

Doing nothing on 4 – 5 service calls resolves nothing and increases Bell’s end costs because Bell has to resolve the problem eventually.

said by llort :

said by Anonymuss :

Buried wire in an aerial environment for cosmetic reasons is considered CPE, and is the customers responsibility, so let's get a NID on that pole!

What's next? Customers hooking up extension cords and inside wire to the pole? No. The NID must be grounded and the only pratical way to ground a pole mounted nid would be to install a grounding rod but no tech is going to do that. They will just replace the bsw and finish the job.

The Bell system has some of the best grounds and the strand to which the cable is lashed is well grounded. The ground wire connected to the strand could be run down the pole to a pole mounted NID.

Bell could also use 2 pair aerial drop with messenger down the side if the pole to a NID and use the messenger as a ground.

Rick

The strand is indeed grounded but it is too far from the prem to be an effective ground source. Lets not forget the pupose of grounding is to protect the customer. The sub would be vulnerable to foreign voltage coming in contact with the line after the strand-grounded NID. Acceptable ground points at a typical dwelling from most to least effective (as per Bell)...Cold water pipe, hydro ground lug at electric panel, at hydro meter, grounding rod.


Anonymuss

@rogers.com

Fine, leave the NID on the outside of the house, but the splice box on the pole from aerial to BSW is still the demarcation point for billing purposes.

If you believe the trouble truly is in the BSW, then suck up the DMC charge, and get an aerial drop placed from the pole to the house to have the billing demarcation point moved to the NID, or ask the tech to place a temp from the pole to the house until you decide to repair/replace the BSW.



elwoodblues
Elwood Blues
Premium
join:2006-08-30
Somewhere in
kudos:2
Reviews:
·VMedia
reply to RickStep

said by RickStep:

1. Intermittent problems are always the hardest to fix.
2. Bell’s repair within 3 or 4 days means Bell won’t show up before the problem evaporates (no truer word to use here).

I had that issue during my dial up days , whenever it rained the line was so crackly you couldn't make a stable connection. I'd call Bell, 3 days later, no fault found.

Finally after playing this game, I inisted that they book someone to come out the day I call (it's raining). Sure enough, the tech found that a squirrel had chewed into the line down the road, and when it rained, the water got in and wreaked havoc.

You need to INSIST that they come the day you report the problem, otherwise it'll never get fixed.
--
No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.......

InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5
reply to Anonymuss

said by Anonymuss :

Fine, leave the NID on the outside of the house, but the splice box on the pole from aerial to BSW is still the demarcation point for billing purposes.

IIRC, the latest CRTC ruling regarding NIDs and DMC billing requires that Bell (or any other telco) installs a user-accessible NID with test jack free-of-charge where none exists before they can collect any diagnostic charges on subsequent calls.


xbell

@cgocable.net
reply to Anonymuss

said by Anonymuss :

Fine, leave the NID on the outside of the house, but the splice box on the pole from aerial to BSW is still the demarcation point for billing purposes.

Wrong. Thousands of Bell customers, myself included, have had bsw cut-overs or re-arranges from aerial to buried and the demarcation is the end of the bsw at prem.


sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
reply to sm5w2

This is the e-mail response I got from my relative in Windsor when I asked about the status of their phone-line situation. This is coming from a very non-technical person.

==========
August 8

Well the phone line is working but my internet is not. They sent me a new modem and i plugged the wires from the old modem into the new one. Called bell, forgot my access password but I had my user ID, tried to get it to work but no luck. So they are sending someone out tomorrow afternoon. I am not sure if I should have kept the yellow connection from the last modem.

The phone line was at the box some place near (Street X). The girl that came was very good she gave me her cell number when my phone was not working I could call her and I did call her that afternoon when the phone was not working, so she could tell where the problem was.

I will call you tomorrow night after the bell guy leaves for the internet I can get my email's on outlook express but not on the internet.
==========

Several contradictory items above. I'm not sure if the e-mail was sent from their home (which would indicate that internet connectivity was obviously working). The point about outlook was working but internet e-mail (gmail) wasn't is also contradictory.

I'm sure we've all been frustrated in helping a friend/relative diagnose computer problems from a distance...

Street X is 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from their house. Depending on where on Street X this box is would add to this. I have no idea why any piece of physical plant located that far away would be playing a role in these problems.

I also don't know why a new modem is involved here. I think this is the second modem in 6 months.

(my relative didn't call as indicated above- so this is all I know at this time)



Glen1
These Are The Good Ol' Days.
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
GTA Canada
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Bell Fibe
reply to sm5w2

Interesting email...the yellow connection would be the ethernet cable that comes in the modem kit...usually yellow in colour. It sounds like the browser is not able to get to the internet but their email client is working (outlook express). Perhaps they have a very common virus that stops the browser from working? Just a thought. Please update us when you hear more information.
--
My Canada includes Quebec.
Disclaimer: If I express an opinion, it is my own opinion, not that of Bell or its related companies.



sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON

So just to re-cap, my relative in windsor was having this issue with their pots line where they'd pick up the phone and hear some sort of static and no dial tone. This seemed to only happen when the out-door temperature went into the 90's (hey - if you're from windsor, you use farenheight). So during the early to mid-afternoon on the hottest days.

This happened last about 10 - 12 days ago, and they got a bell tech to come by when it was actually happening (by calling the tech's cell phone). The tech checked out all the wiring from the house, to the street, and then went to some box about a mile away and came back and said that everything has been fixed (didn't seem to indicate what the problem was, or the fix). Phone was working and has since been working (but they haven't had the extreme high temp's since then either).

During all this, even when they had no dial tone the DSL service was still working. But then a few days after the POTS fix the DSL stopped working and they called bell and was on the phone with someone from india and they talked them through a bunch of stuff but it all ended with Bell sending a new modem. This is a 2-wire 2701hg-g. It's got wifi (their old one wasn't wifi - they sent the old one back). I'm wondering if Bell is now going to charge them for "wireless" internet (?). After getting the login credentials sorted out they have functional internet again.



Glen1
These Are The Good Ol' Days.
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
GTA Canada
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Bell Fibe
reply to sm5w2

As far as I know there is no charge for "wireless" access. It is always a guess as to what charges they will incur due to the usual "sales" pressure that the people go through when they call. If all they did was replace the modem then there should be no charge for the modem swap...have them check their bill over when it comes. Many Windsor people listen to U.S. radio so that is one reason the temperatures would still be in Fahrenheit
--
My Canada includes Quebec.
Disclaimer: If I express an opinion, it is my own opinion, not that of Bell or its related companies.