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It is retained for the value of any residual information contained in it.
bridge tapsA bridge tap is a technique for telephone installs that taps you into a line that runs past your house, rather than terminating at your house. The line doesn't go to anyone elses premise, it just ends, maybe a mile up the road. This is useful should people move out, demolish a house or whatever, the phone company can move the tap up or down to service whomever it wishes. Unfortunately, you have a mile of unterminated phone line running up the road ready to pick up any interference, like a huge TV antenna. Because it isn't terminated, signals bounce up and down the line and can reinforce or cancel the signals your equipment is trying to send to your ISP. This can and does play havoc with 56k modems. Telcos will not pay much attention to customer complaints about bridge taps since they do not guarantee data beyond 2400 baud, however, a DSL line is supposed to be a new clean install, and so you should not get any bridge tap surprises.. but if your provider mentions this, now you know what they are talking about.
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