TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Stranger's Phone Line Active in Apartment

Re: Stranger's Phone Line Active in Apartment

Paul (
Tue, 10 Apr 2007 15:11:33 UTC wrote in

> Recently a friend discovered an extra active phone line in his San
> Francisco apartment. To identify the mystery line, we dialed out on
> it and the caller ID for it contains the name of a stranger who lives
> a block from my friend. My friend is pretty sure that the stranger
> has never lived in my friend's apartment building.

> My guess is that the stranger's phone number works just fine at the
> stranger's home, and that (perhaps years ago) ATT accidentally
> connected the stranger's line to my friend's apartment via a wiring
> error in the large ATT neighborhood wiring box that sits nearby on the
> street. We cut the wire at the jack in the apartment so my friend
> wouldn't use the stranger's line by accident. We haven't yet
> contacted the stranger a block away, but we might do so.

> I'd bet that this sort of wiring error happens regularly, and that the
> phone company and the two subscribers in question don't notice it.

> Have you ever heard of a wiring error of this sort? Could I be
> mistaken about what's going on with the stranger's phone line?

> **********
> 1366294709

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: We hear of this error quite often. It
> is an error in multiples open on the same cable run. [...]

> By the way, if your friend were the perfectly
> evil type person, he would make a nice looking 'tap' and place it
> on the Stranger's wire pairs and listen to it forever, or if Stranger
> had a dial-up modem on that line, watch his modem calls. That's often
> times how police do it. PAT]

For "safety," and so I would not get accused of tapping, I might just
twist the wires together and connect them to a good ground ... ;)


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Maybe twenty years ago, or twenty-five,
I knew of this very dilapidated older-high rise building, which in its
earlier lifetime of a half-century or so had had a manual switchboard
for residents in the building. Switchboard was long since removed, but
in the basement of the building, directly underneath where the switch-
board had been was a thick cable coming down out of the basement
ceiling and snaking off through the wall to somwhere. Its only
identification was a small very decayed paper tag tied around the
cable with a string. On the old tag was a legend: "These fifty
pairs go to the switchboard at (some street address, across the street
and up the block)". All written in very old fashioned script probably
with a fountain pen, dated with from a date in 1908, by a telephone
man long since died. Upstairs, behind the now-removed switchboard was
a rather huge wooden (mind you, with no locks of any kind on it)
cabinet which, when we took the doors off of it were several wooden
strips with numbers marked on them, feeding phone service to wherever.
This was in Chicago, in a neighborhood which had also seen its better
times a half-century earlier. But the street addresses still existed,
and the buildings still had people living in them, presumably with
their phone service.

And you may recall in the Digest a number of years ago, I published an
article from the *Chicago Tribune* about a woman whose _bedroom_ had a
huge phone box in it; Illinois Bell claimed it had easement rights to
her bedroom, since at one time many years before she had bought the
house, that bedroom had served as a telephone answering service; that
box had jillions of live pairs in it from all over her neighborhood.
No one had ever said anything about it one way or the ther. She found
it quite by accident when she found an unused door into a small crawl
space there, many live pairs inside. Telco has quite a glorious
history, to be sure! PAT]

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