Whenever I have a power outage, I also lose all of my phones - dial
tone and all. If some calls me, a recording says all circuits are
busy - which of course they are not. This has been happening for over
a year now - during which time we have had several outages.
This loss of phones is for all my phones, some of which are cordless,
and two of which are corded.
When power is restored, sure enough, phone service becomes restored
some 30 or so minutes later.
My immediate neighbor does not lose his phone during the same outages.
Yet his immediate neighbor does just like I do. This same random
choice of working phones versus non-working phones occurs throughout
this community of some 100 houses.
All I get is a song and dance from the phone company. They say they
will look into it, but do not.
Anyone have any ideas?
If it doesn't happen when you flip off your main breaker, there is a
good probability that the telco has a local SLIC pedestal somewhere
nearby with a failed or defective battery backup. You and your neighbors
may be on circuits to that SLIC while other neighbors are still on old
copper to the regular central office. It's also possible that you are
all connected to this SLIC pedestal and it's battery backup is
functional, but a particular frame within the SLIC ped. is not
functioning properly on the battery power. Getting the telco to properly
dispatch a tech to properly inspect and test that SLIC ped. will be a
challenge since the CSR you get when you call typically doesn't have a
clue. Calling the telco from a cell phone during an actual power failure
when the problem is actively occurring might get them to test at a time
when they will see that the SLIC is not reachable. Good luck.
This is as good as I would have written. However, we refer to our pair gain
systems as "SLC". I don't know what either acronym stands for.
While pair gain and related equipment are not my area of "expertise", I do not
believe that modern RTs (remote terminals) have battery backup sufficient to
power the unit for even the first, few minutes of a grid power failure.
Virtually all RTs have a power cabinet with an external generator input
(transfer switch, etc). During an EXTENDED power failure, the telco
dispatches a technician towing a trailer-mounted generator behind his vehicle
to the affected site. Obviously, this implies that the subscribers connected
to this remote terminal are without dial tone (and probably DSL) until either
the grid power is restored (common) or a generator is delivered to the
affected site (rare).
That one or more neighbors MAINTAIN their phone service while others do not
was explained nicely by Pete C. Another possibility is that those UNaffected
neighbors subscribe to a different (physical) network. Example: I am
connected by a copper pair to the Qwest Central Office ("never" an outage due
to the C.O. battery and resident backup generator) while many of my neighbors
are Cox Communications subscribers. These are two, physical and separate
networks. One can lose power while the other stays up based on the backup
capability of each.
If I flipped-off the main breaker in my electric service panel and my
neighbors phone service went down, I would be amazed as that is virtually
If this is a frequent occurrence for which you have had little/no help from
your telco, report your concerns to your state's regulatory commission. Such
reports usually get prompt attention from the telco. Good luck!
I was under the impression that those remote terminals were required to
have a nominal 8 hr of battery backup capacity due to the E911 / life
safety issues, with the assumption that the Telco would get a generator
to the site within the 8 hrs if the power outage was expected to last
longer. I know there are also some small automatic generator systems
designed specifically for that type of application. As you note, the
state regulators ears might perk up if they were informed about the
regular lack of E911 access during power failures.
You may be right about the requirement. I'll inquire of a coworker that knows
Regardless, I am confident that many, if not all, of the RTs in our area do
NOT have a battery sufficient to the task you list: 8 hours would require a
large battery, indeed.
Virtually all of the "nodes" in Omaha's broadband "experiment" (unique
"orphan" system) have a built-in genset and are connected to natural gas in
most cases, propane tank(s) in a few others. The RTs outside our broadband
"footprint" are not so equipped.
I think this is the most likely reason. This is the only way you'll hear
"All circuits are busy" In any other case you'll hear just normal ringing
(except phones in the house won't ring, of course) when you call your home
It might be a little harder to explain why the signal does not get
restored until 30 minutes after the power is back up though.
Definitely report the issue to the phone company. When the power is out is
usually when you may need your phone most, so that's a serious problem and
they should fix it ASAP.
Delivered via http://www.thestuccocompany.com/
News and Discussions Community of the Net
Web and RSS access to your favorite newsgroup -
alt.home.repair - 234327 messages and counting!
Agree completely. Without more info we are however guessing.
Another possibility is that some customers have been provided with
telephone service by means of 'pair gain' devices. These were often
used when there were insufficient cable pairs; as communities grew ot
avoided placing more cables etc. So, for example your neighbour has
telephone service via the pair of copper wires, while you may have
service provided by one of these power gain devices over the same pair
of wires. Some of those pair gain units are powered by AC
Again your telephone service may be provided by a cable TV company.
Some of those companies do not provide the same power back up of
traditional telcos. and in some instances no back up power at all!
Our cable TV fails during power outages for example. Sometimes
noticeable but usually not a problem cos our power is off also!
Expecting any telephone that requires electricity, to work, when the
power is off, is no more reasonable than expecting your electric
shaver or electric toaster to work during a power outage!
BTW do you have any other AC operated devices that may be also
connected to the telphone line that could busy it out during a power
outage? Fax machine? Alarm system? Also any el-cheapo phones; some of
which can do funny things to your regular phone line during power
I just went thru the exercise of throwing my main power breaker to see
if I lose all dial tones that way. And I do not. Unlike with a true
power outage during which I lose all dial tones, whether the phone is
cordless (portable with a base) or corded (connected to the wall),
with the main breaker thrown I only lose dial tones for the cordless
phones. That is as it should be.
So I still do not know why I and some of my neighbors (but not all)
lose all dial tones during a true power outage.
You don't need to know. It is now clearly the telco's problem.
If they are unwilling to deal with it, you can complain to whatever
regulatory agency that oversees telephone companies in your state.
You could even tell them that you couldn't dial 911 during the last
outage (of course you didn't try, but don't mention that).
Well, if he didn't have a dial tone, he wouldn't have been able to even
if he did try...
Obviously there's a common supply somewhere under some of these outage
conditions that is taking the telco's supply, too. Whether that would
be a regulatory violation is doubtful in my mind, but guess could always
ask his State authority...
When it comes to the ability to reach E911 or other emergency services,
there may well be a regulatory violation. Recall the E911 issue came up
with the various VoIP providers i.e. Vonage and created quite a stink
until they sorted it out.
Certainly it _might_, but there's no way they can regulate 100%
reliability. Only if there is something so fundamentally flawed in
their system that is fixable would there be a possibility of regulatory
violation. That is possible, of course, but wouldn't be my first choice
of likely outcomes... :)
Nobody is talking about 100% reliability. But power failures are not
uncommon and can be planned for. If there was no regulatory requirement
for the phone network to work during a power outage, a lot of telco's
would save money and not bother with all the batteries and backup generators
that they have.
I bet that these days, even "homeland security" would have something to
say about a phone system that fails during a power outage.
OP/Jethro: what state are you in?
No, but it depends on what the root cause of this outage is and the
frequency vs cost of fixing the problem (and, of course, what any actual
regulation is in the State wherein OP resides)...
My first bet of any outcome will be the telco is within the letter of
any pertinent regulation...
That _is_ a possibility unless they already know what is the cause of
why they lose power in that section (which I would also suspect to be
the case at least in Engineering although a complaint-taker robot
certainly won't know nor have any such information available)...
But, if it's such a frequent event as to be a problem for OP, that would
certainly be at least one avenue to pursue.
We're on a rural line and phone hangs in there most of the time when
power is out, but sometimes it just happens that whatever takes the
power takes 'em both. Once in a while it's the other way 'round, too.
Sh^htuff happens and to have it otherwise implies the 100% reliability
So it returns to a question of "how often and why" and whether that is
or isn't up to the standards of the particular State regulatory body.
And again, my guess would be the telco makes pretty sure to ensure that.
But again, never hurts to use the club if it's a problem, just don't
be overly optimistic it will cause a change. :)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.