Typical folk-lore that results from half-reading California PUC rules.
After wiring on the customer side of the NID became the customer's
property and responsibility to maintain, the California PUC
established some state rules pertaining to inside wiring. The rule
on-point is that the landlord is the owner of inside wiring in rental
untils, not the tenants. So, either through a SBC maintenace program,
an outside maintenance program, or on his own, the landlord has to
keep the inside wiring (and presumably one jack) in good repair.
Whether dial tone is established on that viable pair is not the
landlord's obligation in any manner. That is a service that the
tenant has to decide to provide for himself. Now, California also has
highly subsidized basic dial tone service for those who certify an
income below a threshold level, that varies with the number of
household dependants. But, there is still a small monthly fee and it
is strictly up to the tenant whether he wants to pay that low fee for
There is nothing mandatory about providing this "life-line" subsidized
service except on the part of the LEC and then only if the subscriber
orders it and qualifies by certification. None of this has anything
to do with the landlord in any case. The low-cost "life-line" service
is subsidized by all other California wireline subscribers, who do not
qualify for socialized telephone service.
A more interesting twist is where the property has affluent renters
and perhaps some of them want multiple phone lines, which the landlord
cannot practically provide. I believe it has thus far been the
practice of the CAL PUC to force this inside wiring mandate for only
one line per rental unit. But, I could be wrong on that one.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: As I read the original thread here, I
was of the impression it was not the wire pair(s) in question, it
was getting dial tone on that pair which telco would not supply
because of a billing dispute with a previous tenant. Telco could care
less about the wire pair; run as many of them as you wish, but then
get telco to interconnect. Was I wrong on this assumption? PAT]