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New Comcast phone service, but old jacks no longer work
December 30, 2008 1:44 AM   Subscribe

My mom switched to land-line phone service through Comcast, but now she only has one working phone jack. How do we restore functionality to the remaining outlets in the house?

[This question is a bit long, but if you want to skim it, I think you can get by just reading the non-small text]

My mom recently switched to Comcast for cable/internet/phone. Cable and internet are fine, but it's the phone portion that's causing trouble.

Her house has a phone jack in each room. Back when she had "normal" phone service, the phones worked in every room. Since she changed to Comcast now there's only one phone outlet in the house that works.

Looking at the Comcast black box (that the cable from outside plugs into), there's a short phone cord (photo of the back of the Comcast box with phone cord circled here) that runs from the box to a little Comcast-installed connector-box on the wall. Looking at the little connector-box, I could see that from there, a wire seems to run down through a hole in the floor to the basement.

I'm guessing that during installation, the Comcast guy drilled this hole, went down to the basement and ran some phone cord from there over to just one phone jack (which is why it is just that one phone jack in the dining room that now works).


The problem is, we want her to go back to having phone access in every room (or at least back to having a phone in her bedroom and one on the second floor) so that she can hear it.

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, we could just get her a cordless phone with 3 handsets and a charger for each room. However, my mom's hearing is not what it once was, so we want to get her a couple of phones with a blinking light, or something where you can plug in a lamp so that the lamp flashes when she gets a call. For this it seems like we'll need a phone jack in the same room where we want the flashing lights.

She has a cordless phone with a flashing base, but of course the flashing base is tethered to the one working phone jack in the dining room, so she never sees it. This leads to a lot of missed calls for her. Anyway, long story-short...


How do we restore functionality to the old phone jacks? I assume that the working phone cord would need to be "split" some way and then new wire fed to the old outlets... ?

Is this something a phone guy can do? Can Comcast do this? (I'll give Comcast a call when I have some time to sit on hold, but they're closed now and I thought maybe some fellow MeF's had run into a similar problem and might have some good advice.)

Thanks in advance
posted by blueberry to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
When we got Qwest internet and phone, they gave us a 'Suttle' brand 'line conditioner' for each phone jack in the house. It looks like a little 1"x1"x2" box spliced into a 4inch section of phone cord, female in the little box, male at the end of the tail. You just plug your phone line into the box, and the box tail into the wall jack. Comcast should have included several in your kit. Really easy fix.
See- http://www.suttleonline.com/faq.html
posted by Acacia at 2:19 AM on December 30, 2008


Yes, a phone/network guy can fix this. And it is quite likely that Comcast should have fixed it as part of the installation fee (they offered to do so when my mother got Comcast telephony). I would definitely start with calling Comcast customer service and complaining that they did not connect all the jacks in the house (or even offer to do so for an additional fee).

You could also likely fix this yourself with some pretty simple rewiring. It may be as simple as making sure the old Bell phoneline is no longer connected and using a phone cable and plugging it into both the Comcast modem and an existing wall jack. This article is not exactly what your trying to do, but may help. If you're not comfortable with that, call Comcast or a home networking professional.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 4:12 AM on December 30, 2008


Pretty much the same thing happened to my mom when she got Time Warner's equivalent service. They came back out and fixed it. I would call Comcast and insist that all the phones be connected.
posted by stefnet at 5:09 AM on December 30, 2008


I have phone/internet/cable from Cox. All my phone jacks work, nothing was rewired. I have setup McGuillicuddy describes - a regular phone cable running from the back of my cable modem to the nearest wall phone jack. If you have any random phone cable around, it would be a quick and easy thing to try out before you make a service call.
posted by donnagirl at 12:26 PM on December 30, 2008


Huzzah. My mom called Comcast, they came out, and now all the phone jacks work again. Not sure if she'll see an extra charge on her next Comcast bill or not, but either way, it was worth it.
posted by blueberry at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2009


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