The following is a step-by-step guide to diagnose your telephone service trouble at your house. These guidelines will often prevent a costly technician premise visit.

Do you have noise on the line or no dial tone?

  • Bear in mind, a bad or dead battery on a cordless phone can cause problems with your telephone service!

Step 1: Noise or No Dial Tone: Check for Problems Inside the House

  1. If there is noise on the telephone line or no dial tone, you should unplug every device in the house that connects to a phone jack. This includes: computers, direct TV boxes, fax machines, DSL modems, DSL filters, etc. Start by plugging in a phone that is known to be in good working condition into each jack in the house. Does every jack have a noise on the line/have no dial tone or is it just one jack?
  2. If only one jack is noisy/have no dial tone, you may have a bad jack. Call 636-2274 and schedule an appointment to have the jack replaced.
  3. If all of the jacks are noisy/have no dial tone, you should check your test phone and make sure it is not the problem by trying a different phone. If the problem clears up, you may have had a bad phone.
  4. If all of the jacks are noisy/have no dial tone after trying two different phones, proceed to Step 2 and locate your NID. Remember to take a working phone and both a Philips head and flat head screwdriver to the NID on the outside of the house.

Step 2: Outside the House

  1. The NID is the Network Interface Device that the phone company uses to connect their service to your house.
  2. The NID is usually on an outside wall of the house near your electric meter. The NID is a small/medium, usually gray box. You may see conduit or wires running into the box.
  3. Use a screwdriver to open the NID. You will often see a screw labeled “Customer Access.” Use this.
  4. Once opened, you will see 1 or more lines. These lines can be tested by pressing down on a small clip on the module where all of the wires connect. Once opened, you will see a telephone jack that you can use your phone to test the service. If you see both a “Voice” and “Data” module, only test the “Voice” module.
  5. Once your phone is connected to the module, listen for dial-tone and make sure you can make a call.
  6. If you can make a call and have already tested the jacks and devices inside the house, then there is a problem with the house wiring/devices. A technician can be called to fix the problem and the repair is usually at the customer’s expense.
  7. If you cannot make a call from the NID, then the phone company (BIT) may have a problem. Most of the time this means that there is no service getting to the NID. Often this means a repair at no cost to the customer; however, there are exceptions such as cut drops or customer-induced, physical damage to the equipment.

Picture Examples

  1. Examples of NID’s found on the outside of the house.
  2. Open NID’s. Plug a CORDED phone into circled jack to test functionality.
  3. There are many NID’s that have been used over the years in telecommunications. Here is a generalized outline of a NID in case you have a different NID than previously shown.