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Crackling on landline confirmed using TalkTalk tools

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Message 89 of 89

There is crackling on the landline, running a TalkTalk test confirms this and a reference is generated. The recent visit of an Openreach engineer confirmed the crackling in on the line not in my head. At the start of the month this crackling overwhelmed the landline and after a snapping sound the call terminated. When the caller tried again their voice was distorting/echoing. TalkTalk website confirmed there was a fault on the landline.


The fault persists, I am using a new phone - it is not a cordless one. It is directly connected to the Openreach 5C master socket which has a new faceplate fitted by a Qube GB engineer.


The crackling continues when the electrical supply to the house is off.


A fresh test yesterday indicated a fault with the landline, there has not been an update for 24 hours.

I spent a long time on Live Chat as I was requested to do so, a test by the agent warned me it might last 20 minutes. The results of this test were to be included with the notes on my account.


Three weeks since the initial complaint - anyone with poor mental health would be put at risk by these circumstances.


I live in an area with a poor mobile phone signal, 28% again today. A landline is very important, to be able to hear and be heard is also important.


There have been landline faults here since I switched to TalkTalk six years ago.




Message 41 of 89

Hi Chris,


I have been trying to reply but "Authentication ticket failed" appeared. Why?


I am sorry that I did not make it clear that when the Openreach engineer set up the old and battered handset on loud speaker for me to listen to, on the other side of the room, I heard a distorted noise. What this distorted noise consisted of is hard to say. 


The Openreach notes are a partial record of the appointment. I did not see them produced yesterday, but in the past they seem to be produced by pushing buttons. Perhaps the engineer made a mistake.


I asked the engineer to note that my set up inside the house was appropriate and that I was using a new BT Big Button 200 phone. This was all checked by the Qube GB engineer when he visited.


The Openreach Master Socket 5C with a Mark 4 faceplate was replaced by this engineer. That replacement failed some test so was replaced by another one. Presumably the first new one was faulty. The second new one failed some test until the wiring was cut and reinserted. Qube GB also replaced the original Mark 4 faceplate.


When the engineer connected the old home cordless phone from his van, I could hear the continuous crackling noise and told him I could. I pointed out that this handset sounded muffled compared to the BT Big Button 200 phone and my original phone. His comment was something about having used the standard industry tests or words to that effect.


This morning, a different phone connected to the Network Terminating Equipment [NTE] as described above, produced a continuous crackling noise when the dialling tone was removed by pressing a numbered button. The fault is not beyond the NTE in my home


This afternoon I plugged the new BT Big Button 200  phone into a neighbours phone socket and heard the continuous crackling noise.

The continuous crackling noise is not being caused by the new BT Big Button 200 phone. A phone I detest as the volume +/- buttons make no difference to the volume heard, a waste of £30.


I would run a test on my phone more often but the website often has a problem. Currently the website informs me that REF-14007201 is closed. I am unable to run a phone test - why?


If the TAM module in the TalkTalk equipment in the local exchange is faulty the results of TAM tests when possible are suspect. Has this TAM module been tested? When and what were the results?


Openreach engineers have told me they do not test the TalkTalk equipment in the local exchange nor the network beyond the exchange to the TalkTalk servers.


Has the TalkTalk equipment in the local exchange been tested? When and what were the results?


Has the network beyond the exchange and TalkTalk servers been tested? When and what were the results?


What else can I do, to help you, help me?


Thank you for all your help.



Message 42 of 89

There is no mention in the notes of the fault being beyond the exchange, just beyond the NTE. I've checked the TAM test history, 16 have been run since September, only two failed, both on 13 Feb at 14:08 and 14:12. I've just run another TAM test and that has passed too. 


Just to confirm, when the engineer plugged in the handset and played through the speaker, the crackle wasn't present? When the engineer plugged in his old cordless handset did you tell the engineer that you could still hear the crackle, and if you did what did he say?



Message 43 of 89

Hello Chris,


No. I was asked if I had another phone? I did not.


The Openreach engineer suggested the fault was beyond the exchange or it was my phone. The engineer's old battered looking handset was then connected up and played through its loudspeaker to me across the room, this apparently demonstrated that my new BT Big Button 200 phone was at fault. I pointed out that I do not use the loudspeaker of my phone, current or previous. I always use the handset.


The Openreach engineer next brought an old home cordless phone in from the van. The handset was given to me to listen to, I could hear the continuous crackling noise on the landline. I have no idea what "Sound" setting this handset was on.


I was advised to try another phone, which I did this morning as you know, the result is always the same.


Looking at an old copy of the T&D Forum "Best Practise Guidance - Test Accuracy and Charging Scenarios" OTA2, the headings are interesting. They are 

  • No line testing can be 100% accurate
  • Some known "Blindspots"
  • Test reporting accuracy
  • How does this work in the real world?
  • Context is key
  • Not all faults can be found

I do not see much evidence of this being followed. It is so easy to blame the End Consumer or the Communications Provider. Who checks the checkers? I will look at the OTA2 website later to see what I can find.


Openreach engineers are in my home working for their client, TalkTalk, not me. I suspect that many poor reviews of TalkTalk are a result of Openreach.


I will be incensed if an attempt is made to charge me for the latest Openreach engineer visit because the fault is clearly not on my equipment. This is known to TalkTalk as a Qube GB engineer visited, he repeatedly found a fault when using the Test Access Matrix [TAM] system, reported crackling on the landline and put "JOB REQUIRES ESCALATION TO OPEN REACH AS FAULT IS EXTERNAL" at the end of his report.


 How many times a day should a TalkTalk customer expect a Fibre 65 broadband connection to disconnect?


Thank you for taking the time to try to help me.




Message 44 of 89

Thanks for the information. The engineer notes indicate that the fault was found beyond the NTE on your home equipment/wiring, is this not the case?



Message 45 of 89

Hello Chris,


The continuous crackling noise on the landline, heard when the new BT Big Button 200 phone is connected directly to the latest Openreach Master Socket 5C, while the electricity to my home is switched off, sounds like tuning in to 612 Khz AM.


I live three gardens away from a National Grid [NG] substation, my electricity comes to my home by overhead cables. They originate from the top of a NG pole at the side of my home. The overhead power cables  go down the NG pole underground and across the road by the Openreach pole that provides my overhead landline.  The NG cable runs across the front of my house supplying my home and next door, it crosses above my landline.


If Openreach cannot identify the origin of the continuous crackling noise on my landline when testing from my home to the exchange and I have used three different phones that all have this sound, surely it is time that TalkTalk tested its equipment in the local exchange and beyond?


On Thursday 1 February 2024 when I used the tools on the TalkTalk website,  a fault was detected and reference REP-13941134 created.

On Wednesday 7 February 2024 REP-13957577 was created. I have asked for these to be explained but received no response.


Today when the tools on the TalkTalk website were on th blink, a frequent occurrence I was unable to run any tests. Is this because there is a fault on my landline that Openreach has yet to identify? Is it because the TAM module in the TalkTalk equipment in the local exchange is faulty? Is the fault beyond the local exchange or within the TalkTalk servers?


Someone somewhere must have the answers to my questions?


When using the TalkTalk website tools there is mention that results are safely stored. Has anyone looked at REP-13941134 and REP-13957577? It might provide a clue to the solution. May I please have a copy of the results for these two references?


Using the loudspeaker of the new BT Big Button 200 is not a great success, I do not use it as the audio quality is very poor. Three different phones when connected to the Openreach master Socket 5C test socket have a continuous crackling noise on the landline.


Thank you for continuing to try to help me with this problem.


Message 46 of 89

Hi Crackle170224,


Thanks for the update. If you use your BT Telephone on loudspeaker can you hear the crackle?




Message 47 of 89

Hello Chris,


Openreach attended my home yesterday, their tests on the line between here and the local exchange  did not reveal the source of the continuous crackling noise on the landline when a new BT Big Button 200 phone is connected to the test socket. I bought this phone to rule out that the previous phone was causing it.


A complete new Openreach Master Socket 5C was fitted. This caused problems with further testing, apparently the new socket was faulty so another new socket was fitted which also caused problems but after wires were removed, cut and reinserted it apparently was okay.


It was suggested that the continuous crackling noise could be originating in the TalkTalk equipment at the local exchange or beyond. Is this true?


It was suggested that the continuous crackling noise was originating in the new BT Big Button 200 phone. I bought a BT corded phone rather than a cheaper one hoping it would work.


The Openreach engineer demonstrated the landline was okay using his handset and the dialling tone through the loudspeaker across the room to me. I pointed out that I do not use the loudspeaker of the new BT Big Button 200 phone nor did I use it on the previous phone. I use the handsets. The people I call have complained about the audio quality if I use my phones hands free. in his


An old cordless home phone unit was brought in from the van and I was given the handset to listen to, the sound was muffled compared to my new phone but the continuous crackling noise was present.


TalkTalk has sent me a message to say the case is resolved. TalkTalk Track My Fault reports the case has been resolved.


This morning while using the TalkTalk website tools to check my home phone a variety of different contradictory messages appeared. Perhaps the TAM module in the TalkTalk equipment at the local exchange is itself faulty. I was unable to run tests.


I have used a different phone connected to the test socket this morning, the continuous crackling noise is still present.


The Openreach engineer showed me something on his phone about the request made by TalkTalk for the appointment, perhaps it prejudiced it in the engineer's mind?


This case is not resolved.


Message 48 of 89

The tests that the engineer carries out will be the same for all customers depending on the type of fault. It wouldn't vary depending on the service provider.




Message 49 of 89

Hello Chris,


Somewhere in TalkTalk there is a technical team, perhaps you could ask them for the answer? The person I recently dealt with was called Fredrick, he was able to give me information about my local exchange in Abson and the Kingswood OHP.


The previous Openreach engineer stiffened when I used a technical term, he made a comment and chose to end the visit by a mobile phone call knowing that the signal here is very poor as we had discussed why I rely on the landline. It makes me reluctant to bring up the dimly flashing incoming call LED but I will after he has conducted all of the tests.


Do Openreach engineers carry out a full range of tests or a subset with TalkTalk customers?  I remember a dispute between TalkTalk and Openreach about ten years ago over costs and tests.


Message 50 of 89

I don't really know what would cause this, could you mention it to the engineer they may know




Message 51 of 89

Hello Chris,


Thank you for responding to my post.


The new phone that I bought to rule out that the fault is with my equipment is a BT Big Button 200. This phone is powered from the landline using the cable that came with it, it is not connected to the mains. The batteries in the phone used to store settings etc have been removed.


I have noticed since the last Openreach engineer visit that the incoming call LED sometimes dimly flashes. People have told me that when they have tried to call me that they have heard the busy line sound. I have not been on the phone at the time.


When the incoming call LED dimly flashes it is not followed by a call.


The last Openreach engineer did not report that he could hear the continuous crackling noise on the line but did report that the end consumer was advised of a possible issue with end consumer equipment/wifi. This did not happen. I do not have a problem with wifi.


This Opennreach engineer could hear the continuous crackling nosie on the landline from his handset as well as my new phone.




Message 52 of 89

Hi Crackle170224,


Is the telephone with the dim LED cordless? If it is, is the LED on the handset or base unit?



Message 53 of 89

Hello Chris,


Have you replied to my query about the dimly flickering incoming call LED? I have looked but cannot find it.


Ferguson has locked that thread.


As I have commented I am new to the TalkTalk Community, I was invited to use it.


When I searched for answers and the result was blank the website suggested  I rephrase my search, which I have done.


I have checked back and there have not been responses sometimes which is confusing.


Over the six years since I switched to  TalkTalk there have been faults. I have answered the same questions over and over, it seems my answers are not available or not read.


This series started in December 2023 and I have to hope it will be resolved by the third Openreach engineer visit.


The dimly flickering incoming call LED on a new phone solely powered by the landline seems to be a clue. I hoped to have some expert guidance from TalkTalk for tomorrow's Openreach engineer visit.  


Thank you for your patience and continuing help.


Message 54 of 89

Yes I can see that earlier TAM tests did fail but the latest have passed, this doesn't mean that there isn't a fault somewhere, hopefully the Openreach engineer will locate the cause of the noise on the line and fix it




Message 55 of 89

Hello Chris,


Thank you for your reply.


TalkTalk was insistent that Qube GB were to visit me, the visit was imposed on me, I had not agreed to it but allowed it. I had been told I was to be charged £75 for an unnecessary test and did not want to get involved in a dispute with a company that has access to my bank account..


Qube GP did the TAM test, it repeatedly failed. The failure of the TAM test was reported to TalkTalk along with a confirmation that there was a continuous crackling on the landline. What was the point of sending a QubeGP engineer?


It will  soon be a month since I decided that enough was enough and contacted TalkTalk. Again and again I am told the line is  clear. 


I find this all very confusing and apologise for the confusion caused by posting under different headings. I am new to the TalkTalk Community and thought I might get answers if I phased the question differently as it suggests on the website.


Thank you for being patient with me and continuing to try to help me.




Message 56 of 89

I don't think they run a TAM test. The TAM tests that we've run over that last few days have passed



Message 57 of 89

Hello Chris,


Thank you for your reply.


When Qube GB were here on 13 February 2024 the engineer ran a number of TAM tests, they all failed. The engineer reported a crackling landline and the failed TAM tests to TalkTalk who escalated it to Openreach.


If you have access to the Openreach test results for 16 February 2024 can you spot any reference to a TAM test being conducted? I have looked but cannot spot it unless it is part of a larger test.


Thank you again for trying to help me. 




Message 58 of 89

Sorry, I don't know what specific tests the engineer will run or what information they have access too. The test we run for voice faults is a TAM test 




Message 59 of 89

Hello Chris,


Please may I know what tests an Openreach engineer could use to investigate the cause of the continuous crackling noise on my landline.


Are the tests that TalkTalk run different to the ones used by Openreach when in my home or the exchange?


Does TalkTalk have access to the same historic line information an Openreach engineer accesses when in my home?


I am piggy in the middle between TalkTalk and Openreach, I pay the bill and have the continuous crackling noise on my landline. Perhaps with the appropriate information I would be able to be part of the solution to this problem?


Thank you for continuing to try to help me.


Message 60 of 89

If we say the line is clear then it's because line tests are passing. High resistance, rectified loop and battery contact faults should all be picked up by our line test.


Yes, the engineer should investigate the cause of the crackle