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Discussion Starter #1
We have a loud buzz on our landline. We've actually had it for quite some time. It comes and goes, and can get bad enough that we can't hear the other person and have to end the call.

So, in trying to do something about it, I'm looking for the jack at the demarcation point, to determine if it's our side, or Bell's side. House was built in 1987. I'm attaching two pictures of the demarcation point, and the inside junction (or whatever it's called). I don't see a 'test jack' that is supposed to be there. What am I missing?
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An analog, POTS landline from Bell?
Call their service line, request a tech visit. You can also do it in person at a Bell store if the line is that bad.
I’m curious to see if they’re going to try selling you a mobile plan rather than fixing their copper infrastructure... or if they’ve abandoned it entirely.

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I don't see a 'test jack' that is supposed to be there.
My house is of almost the same age and has similar wiring inside and out. The inside punch-down block, in your second photo, is essentially the demarcation point. It predates the inclusion of a modular jack and plug as a demarcation point.

The wires coming out of the black cable are Bell's side of the demarcation. All the white cables are yours, going to the modular phone jacks in your house. The red and green wires on your side are the live line. The black and yellow ones are for a second line but it's not currently wired up in the outside black box.

The white cable spliced directly into the black cable probably is, or was, for a monitored home alarm system. It allows the alarm to disconnect any active calls from phones on jacks in the house, to allow it to call the monitoring station.

I can't say what's causing the noise. I also recommend that you call Bell. If they determine it's your problem and want to charge you for it, point out that you have no proper demarcation point that you can disconnect to isolate the problem to your side.

If you have a technician visit, you may wish to point out that there are no spark gap lightning arresters installed in the outside black box (and I don't see any evidence of anything inside). They go in the threaded holes at the top, above the wire terminals.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to you both for your response. We do have a monitored alarm system, so now I understand how/why it's hooked up like that. I was concerned we'd be charged if it was on our side, so it's good to know I can challenge that, since there's no proper test jack.

We live in the country, and our landline is our main line. We do have a mobile phone, but rarely use it.
 

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Make sure that it's not your phone equipment at fault or Bell will likely charge for the service call. Try unplugging or disconnecting the alarm system temporarily. Be sure to notify the alarm company or they may charge you if it causes a false alarm. Unplug all the phones and try them one at a time to see if one is faulty. If the hum persists, pick up a phone jack at a discount store for a couple of dollars and install it at the inside demarcation point. disconnect the inside wiring and try that with a couple of different phones. If the hum is still present, then call Bell.
 

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Make sure that it's not your phone equipment at fault or Bell will likely charge for the service call.
[...]
If the hum persists, pick up a phone jack at a discount store for a couple of dollars and install it at the inside demarcation point.
I wouldn't touch anything. I'd phone Bell, tell them you have line noise and ask them how you should proceed.

If they say you could be charged if it turns out to be your problem, tell them you don't have a demarcation point that has a jack or other way of separating the two sides and you don't feel you have the expertise or tools to isolate the sides yourself on the punch-down block.
 

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When we had POTs with Bell we also encountered a very noisy line. Bell came out and replaced the line to the house and installed on the outside wall of the house a box with a test jack in the box. There is a short 4 wire cable into the house. Now Bell can test the line without coming into the house as anything in the house is my responsibility.
 

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There is no modular jack for your inside. This was normal back in the day but does not allow someone like you to test it yourself.

So because of this you should call Bell and let them come out and test the line.

Chances are they will find the problem and replace all the old equipment with a proper modern NID and Demarc that is up to todays standards
Go for it.
 

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I wouldn't touch anything.
I'd agree with not touching the wiring if it doesn't feel comfortable. Definitely unplug all the telephone equipment and test them individually as I originally suggested. It's debatable whether Bell will upgrade the demarcation point. In my experience it's not something they will do unless upgrading to a different technology such as fibre.
 

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I'd agree with not touching the wiring if it doesn't feel comfortable.
Even if you did feel perfectly comfortable with working with the wiring, and had the required tools to punch-down the wires, I still wouldn't touch anything. That way Bell wouldn't be able to claim that you messed up something you shouldn't have touched, even if you didn't.
 

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Bell walked away from installing and maintaining internal wiring and devices decades ago. They can claim what they want but internal wiring is the responsibility of the homeowner and Bell wanted it that way. As long as the homeowner takes reasonable steps to prove that the issue is not their internal wiring or devices then Bell can do nothing. Their system should be resilient enough to withstand any faults that may arise.
 

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Bell walked away from installing and maintaining internal wiring and devices decades ago. They can claim what they want but internal wiring is the responsibility of the homeowner and Bell wanted it that way. As long as the homeowner takes reasonable steps to prove that the issue is not their internal wiring or devices then Bell can do nothing. Their system should be resilient enough to withstand any faults that may arise.
It wouldn't be hard to remove the wiring from that strip, but it would require a type 66 punch to reconnect. I see so little type 66 I don't even have the punch tool, only BIX and 110. I wonder if that strip is "official" Bell. It would be a simple matter to create a "demarc" with a pair of keystone jacks and box. They use a 110 punch.
 

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The photo #2 is exactly how my current house and previous house had their phone wires terminated. The only difference is in both my houses we only had ONE WIRE coming off the 66 block and all the jacks were daisy chained to this wire, what I see in photo #2 shows star topology which is the more preferred way of wiring, where as I have bus topology. one wire goes to one jack, and then daisy chained to the next, and so on.
 

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but it would require a type 66 punch to reconnect.
You can punch down wires on a 66 block with two large flat head screwdrivers. Put the wire on the pin. Sandwich the screwdrivers on either side of the pin with the heads centred on the wire. Push down on both screwdrivers at the same time.

That's what I do. I've had no problems with wires punched down this way over 25 years ago.
 
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