BT Openreach New NTE5C Master Socket

BT Openreach New NTE5C Master Socket – Faster Broadband?

The BT Openreach New NTE5C Master Socket has been available for some time now. As I’m a telephone engineer, who has dealt with master sockets for years, I thought I’d give a guided tour

Before We Start…

If you don’t want to read my masterpiece below, and just need to get in touch, click here for the details.

Meanwhile, the whole issue of moving you master socket is dealt with here and here!

To clarify, I’m looking at the type with the “Mk4”  filtered front plate (shown above). You can, however, obtain other front plates, which just have a BT phone-type socket.

What’s good?

Dealing with the older-style NTE5 sockets can be very fiddly!  Attachment of multiple extension wires to the front detachable panel means accidental disconnection in some cases. The screws can be lost! Strangely, there’s only one point of connection for extensions on the new filtered face plate. It’s of a push-down “cam-lock” type. Cramming in lots of wires is not possible  – they will need to be jointed elsewhere. Good!

Advanced Filtering.

Well, at least I hope so! Taking a filtered face plate apart reveals a complex set of filters.

Compare and contrast with the classic cheapie “dangle-filter” (on the right). Hopefully, this means more advanced filtration of noise, hence faster broadband. Apparently, it’s optimised for the fastest Openreach copper product.  This is fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) VDSL. I have seen this perform at almost 60Mb download. Astonishing!

Tool-less Installation.

It seems like Openreach want to get users to install the BT Openreach New NTE5C Master Socket themselves! For this reason, the wiring terminations are the “cam lock” type.

Simply poke wire in, and press down the lock. Done! You won’t even need a screwdriver for the front cover – it simply clips on (but not very well – more of this later.)


There seems to be a bit more inside the casing to route cables. Lack of space was a frequent problem with the older ones.

There’s an “A” and a “B” for a Remote Broadband Socket!

You can connect another one of these filtered sockets via a spare “A and B pin, effectively delivering just what comes fresh into your house to another point.  This is before it gets chance to pick up interference from other devices. More about setting up a separate secondary “master” here

What’s Not So Good.
It’s a Bit Bulky!

This is the down-side of the better space inside.  With the filtered face plate, it sticks out around two to three inches from the surface.  It makes it vulnerable to impacts, and there’s not a lot to hold it on, which leads me on to…

It’s A Bit Lightweight!

The plastic lugs which keep the front look like they would harden and snap with time.  I can’t see an obvious way to repair it, apart from a foot of duct tape.   The old NTE’s used to get bashed and occasionally crack, and they were a 1980’s solid design.  There’s not much hope for this one, unless you hide it from shoes, dogs, chair legs, aggressive turtles, high-speed RC cars, etc.   At least this generates repair work for me…

The Cam Locks.

It actually took quite some effort to break the old-style punch-down connectors of a good-quality NTE5.  The new wire termination points may be tool-less, but once you’ve broken one (and it won’t be hard), you can throw the whole unit away. Some engineers claim that it takes them longer to work with these than the former punch-down pins, as wire insertion is fiddly, and it’s easy to misplace the wires and still have the cam-lock engage.

The Cam Locks Again.

As per the comments above, you can only get one voice-side (telephone) extension pair (to a phone, etc) on the front cam locks.  So, if you need more, you’ll need to be clever in cabling and jointing, using three-way jelly crimps.  I have done this, and it takes time and thought.  In the old NTEs, it was just about possible to punch down two or even three wires per pin.  Those days have gone.

Problems with Fitting

Bitter experience has shown me that they do not fit a steel, recessed back-box unless the said back-box has been installed perfectly flush to the plaster, which never happens, as these  boxes are slapped in by electricians, then plastered around by chaps in a hurry.  Your standard electrical socket will have some wiggle-room. The NTE 5C does not.  The best solution is to leave the thing slightly loose then fill around it, praying that you never have to remove it.  That’s progress, folks… (?!)

And The Big Question – Will It Speed Up My Broadband?

They are so new that I’ve not seen many results as yet.  If you are two miles from an exchange or FTTC cabinet, then it won’t move you closer. You will always suffer from slow speeds. (P.S. some replies to this blog indicate an improvement)

But if you are in the mood to change your old NTE5, then it won’t do any harm.  The whole broadband thing constantly amazes me. I’m astounded that it ever works at all. I would suggest getting one.  I can even fit it for you (or find someone local who can) if you get in touch! !

Higher speed? The cynical old engineer in me says “maybe”. They are cheap-ish on eBay, and it’s worth a try.  If I get some astonishing results, I’ll let you know. (some folks have commented below on improvements) For now, with the BT Openreach New NTE5C Master Socket, that’s about as far as I’d go.

(I don’t operate a helpline, as this site is ad-free and does not generate enough revenue to support it. However, if you email me with questions, I’m generally too kind to ignore them.  However, here’s the deal:- I try and answer your query – you then leave some nice feedback on Facebook and Google Plus. Does this seem fair?  Good! 🙂  )


  1. Jas11-22-2017

    I got master socket 5c connected to my phone and internet my internet keep dropping is master socket 5c ok

    • Rob Govier11-22-2017


      Some early ones were know for high resistance faults. They are identifiable by the red-coloured termination levers (where the cable ends fit). Later ones had clear plastic termination devices, and are known to be more reliable.

      Generally,however,there are not may problems with this device. If you replaceyour 5C with what you had before, and the problem goes away, it’s definitely the socket. Take it back to the supplier!

  2. Anonymous12-10-2017

    Any astonishing results?

    • Rob Govier12-10-2017

      It won’t suddenly improve a poor service from your provider. But if you have a good service to start with, it might make things better. I’m amazed that broadband over copper ever works at all. For the price of the hardware, it’s always worth a go.Rob

  3. Stephen01-06-2018

    BT just fitted me one and the speed has improved considerably! It was good before but is now better. It was running through the latest BT Homehub wirelessly at around 38mbps and is now running fastest at around 52mbps which is probably the best i can get. The engineer said that the line is running at 59mbps but obviously your not going to get that to a device.

    So in a nutshell, I’m very happy with the upgrade of my master socket

    • Rob Govier01-06-2018

      Thanks for the feedback. As I may have mentioned before, it won’t give you 52Mb down if you’re only getting 35Mb from the exchange/cabinet! Just for the record, the fastest I’ve seen over a copper pair was around 55Mb. The customer was around 400 metres from a fibre-equipped cabinet.

  4. Mojo jojo02-06-2018

    I just installed a MK4 VDSL, was on a single telephone socket older model before, the speed has improved a heap more, before averaged 45-50mb max on PC via ethernet, anything from 20-40mb on WiFi.
    As soon as I did switch over, went from above speeds to 66mb on ethernet and 59mb on WiFi 😍.
    Well worth the near enough £10 off of eBay.
    Am on a 75mb plan but was told my line is 55mb capable, so to get 66mb now, well impressed.

    • Rob Govier02-06-2018

      A super story – thanks for sharing it. It’s about the only positive comment on here that I can remember – most come to share their problems.

      I’m astounded that broadband over a pair of copper wires ever works at all! Rob

  5. Bruce02-08-2018

    I fitted one to my fibre to the cabinet BT line. Speed improved immediately from maximum 17 to a steady 20 Mbps. Then I ran a separate line to the Wi-Fi router and the speed went up to 24 Mbps. This speed is now constant all day, it no longer drops off in the late afternoon/evening like before. Well worth the effort.

    • Rob Govier02-08-2018

      All good news! Thanks for sharing this. However, I’m surprised by the change to the time-related speed issue. This sounds like “contention”, that is, lots of folks all trying to use the same service and slowing it down. It usually gets worse when children come home from school! Rob.

    • Barrie03-10-2018

      Hi there. Can you explain what you mean by ‘ran a separate line’?
      Also, where did you get your 5c from? There seem to be quite a few on eBay.
      Thanks in advance.

      • Rob Govier03-10-2018

        The phrase “separate line” appears in a reader’s comment, not in the text. I suspect that he means that he used the “A and B” terminals on the customer side of the socket to feed a second “master”, feeding the “A and B” on the rear of the second socket, thereby creating a dedicated feed direct from the line to a second filtered source. More on doing this in my blog “How to Move Your Master Socket (without actually moving it)”.

        There are plenty of 5C sockets on eBay and Amazon. I’m not aware of any cheap copies. I don’t ask too carefully where they come from, but they appear to come direct from Openreach. Possibly the back door of a van is occasionally left open, or a storeman can’t count… 😉

Leave a Reply

Telecom Green Ltd.
Company Registration number. 05508837. VAT GB 746 7529 92