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BT Master Socket

Can I Move My BT Master Socket? A Telephone Engineer Gives His Advice…

As a telephone engineer, I’m asked regularly “can I move my BT master socket?”. The official, short, simple answer is “no”. Sorry. But..

However, don’t go yet! There’s more to it than a straight “no” – please read on!  There are ways around this problem. And I have even heard that there are independent engineers who might actually move it for a lot less than Openreach…

There are valid reasons “why” . And there are ways to “move it” without actually moving it, as I explain here And I have written about the latest version BT Infinity master socket here

First of all, your BT master socket isn’t “yours” anyway – it’s actually the property of the company that your internet service provider (ISP) use to deliver their service to your house. In most cases, it’s the independent subsidiary of BT called Openreach, who are a neutral supplier and maintainer of wires to your house, whether you get your internet from BT, or not.

It’s a bit like your gas and electricity meter. it belongs to your provider. It’s their property. And Openreach can potentially either “walk away” from sorting out faults when their equipment has been moved without their permission, or charge somewhere around £150 to put things right. They’ll charge you roughly the same to move it, too. Talktalk charge slightly less.

However, I’d ask “Why you need to move it in the first place…?”

Your BT master socket is actually “your friend” when it comes to solving problems with your service. Take the small front cover off , and you’re at the border between you and provider . If you plug into the socket behind the small front cover and still have problems with your broadband or phone, it’s your not your fault – it’s most certainly theirs. And the fault can be passed over to them to fix without fear of any charges coming your way.

Your BT master socket is a very quick and easy way of isolating faults , and this will be the first action any customer service agent will ask you to do. If you’ve messed with it yourself, such as extending it with inferior cable and connectors, or incorrectly wiring it, then you risk a hefty bill if they come out to test your line, see it’s been moved (which is hard to disguise), and have to put it back. So, don’t move your master socket!

If you do need to move a phone socket, then simply wire one to your master socket, even if it’s a case of it being a few inches away. It’s designed to have extensions attached to it, and it’s not hard to attach them, if a bit fiddly for the unfamiliar. If you ask Openreach to move the BT master socket, they will charge somewhere around £150, and you may have to wait a fair while for the work to be done. It’s not worth the wait, cost , or hassle. Don’t move your BT master socket!

If you want to plug your broadband straight into it to improve performance, then there’s another way of doing this. If you have space, plug your broadband hub directly into it, then connect an ethernet socket into it using an ethernet lead (known professionally as a cat 5 patch lead), run another cable, then plug in your device at that end. This keeps your broadband data well away from any interference from the phone wiring in the house, and you’ll find that your broadband speed may increase. Don’t move your master socket

As I describe in another post, one alternative to this may be to buy another new master socket with both broadband and phone points on the front, add a new faceplate to your old master socket which has pins on it (marked “A” and “B”) specifically designed to connect your second socket, and cable between the two. An instant new broadband-friendly outlet. No need to move your BT master socket.

And Talktalk have a a useful page here, too.

And here is they inevitable sponsor’s message. If you are in Middlesbrough, Stockton on Tees, Darlington, County Durham, or North Yorkshire, and this all sounds far too difficult, I am a telephone engineer based in Stockton on Tees, and can help by coming to sort things out for you for less than Openreach!

However, due to time pressure, and the need to feed my wife’s shopping habit through paid work, I can’t offer remote customer service free of charge.

But I network with similar-minded independent experienced engineers across the UK,  many who are escapees from BT, so probably know someone somewhere that can help even if you are not local to me.

So, “Can I move my BT master socket?” Well, maybe…  😉

Please get in touch!

  1. Amila03-17-2015

    Hi,

    I know this is quite an old post. But I have a question. My master socket has MK2 Iplate. It has an IDC connector which is suppose to be a data extension. Is it legal for me to do this my self without paying the hefty call out fee so that I can have a second socket which will be in my living room which I can connect the BT Hub 5?

    Any help really appreciated,
    Amila

  2. Lucan04-29-2016

    LoL, I have often moved and re-wired master sockets and fascia connections. It’s not rocket science, but I suggest not doing it to anyone who is unwilling to do a bit of Googling for info, or finds wiring a plug or adding a light fitting a challenge. Personally I have built electronics as a hobby.

    A master socket is nothing like equivalent to a gas or elecdricity meter. Cut in upsteam of those and you could get free gas or electricity (and blow yourself up); however your phone meter is back at the exchange.

    There are many reasons for breaking in temporarily up to/including the master socket. I have taken my outside line down from the house facsia in order to trim back several trees it passes by; also once to replace the fascia itself (rotten wood). Within the house, the master socket might be where you want to put furniture against the wall, or you might be removing the wall itself as part of some re-building. I’d have paid a fortune in call-outs, and wasted days of no-shows by an engineer.

    BT would do better to install the master socket in the attic and let the house owner then put extensions where they like in the house. In practice an Open Reach engineer is not going to worry about DiY if it is virtually undetectable anyway, I have even mentioned it to them in the past. When you see the state ot the wires on the poles around here (rural, a right rat’s nest tangled in trees), It’s the least of their worries.

  3. Daniel09-11-2016

    Hi there,

    Does anybody know what spec screws the front plate of an NTE5 socket has? I’ve managed to loose them.

    Thanks,

    • Rob Govier09-12-2016

      They are a bit odd. Halfords sell an assorted tray of self-tapping screws (not expensive, and a useful thing to have in a workshop), and one of those fits, but I can’t recall seeing a size for it. They may sell them in individual packs.

  4. Laurence Cope09-21-2016

    You say dont move it, well my master socket comes in next to the front door over the second stair on my stairs upstairs. so at the bottom of my stairs is this unsightly socket I have to run cables from to other rooms in my house. terrible location! So actually I do have to move it if I want it to be in a normal place!

  5. Paul11-24-2016

    Is there anything I can use to prevent small tiny hands grabbing at the wires plugged into the Master Socket, such as a perspex cover etc?

    Kids…who’d have em lol

    • Rob Govier11-26-2016

      Sorry – I can’t think of anything “off the shelf” apart from the NTE5b, which is a NTE5 (master socket) without the front socket. Not much use if you need to plug into it, though. There are options for hard-wiring, but a bit difficult to describe without seeing the job. Putting some furniture in front of it might be easier! Rob.

  6. Sarita11-27-2016

    Hi, my telephone socket is by my front door in the hall, with no plug sockets close by. So I have been running a plug in extension through to the living room, however I have been having problems with reduced internet speed & aparently this is due to running through an extension. What would be best to resolve my problem?

    • Rob Govier11-27-2016

      Hello. I’d recommend hard-wiring a socket from your master socket using good quality cable. The plug-in extension leads are acceptable for telephone use, but can slow down internet speed. I hope that this helps. Rob

  7. Catherine03-16-2017

    Do you know anyone in the Stoke area who could advise me on this issue and come to my house?

    • Rob Govier03-16-2017

      I have contacts throughout the UK, so may be able to put you in touch with another independent engineer. I have emailed you. Thanks for your enquiry. Rob.

  8. Andrew03-29-2017

    We’ve just bought a house and got BT Unlimited Infinity 1. We didn’t get an engineer sent out, just the hub through the post. The problem is that by the looks of it, whoever installed the windows in the house was a bit of a cowboy. The master socket is in the upstairs bedroom, half on the wall where the plaster is loose and half on the UPVC frame. It also looks like it’s being held on to the window frame by the silicone rather than any screws. We want to fix the plaster and the seal around the window, but that’s going to require taking the master socket off to do. Ideally we’d want to move the master socket to the lounge, but I’d settle for just having it attached to the wall properly upstairs and running a network cable downstairs. Would it just be OK to take the master off the wall while we fix the wall and window do you think? Or should this be something we can get BT out to fix without them charging a fortune? I’m OK with DIY and electrics, and have run a fair bit of CAT 5 networking cable before, so I’m happy to have a go at taking the socket off and moving it.

    • Rob Govier03-29-2017

      Thanks for the comment. Strictly, you’re not meant to interfere with the master socket (of course not… 🙂 ), but if this were possible, we’d suggest the following.
      – Buy an Openreach-spec 3M/Scotch external joint from Amazon/eBay.
      – And some dropwire 10 or external grade cable. Can be brought by the length.
      – Plus some jelly connectors
      – Drill hole for new location.
      – Cut cable to current master. Note colour code attached to pins “A” and “B”.
      – Joint using jellies and weatherproof connector and re-route to new location.
      – Reattach master using colours formerly attached to “A” and “B”. (probably solid orange and solid white)

      And that’s it! I need to blog on this soon.

      Rob

      • Andrew04-11-2017

        Thanks Rob!

        Managed to get all the bits and do it at the weekend. Followed your instructions and even got a new master socket with the built in filter. Everything went smoothly – except maybe the bee that kept trying to go up my leg while I was up the ladder 🙂 The dropwire outer insulation was really tough to get through, but I guess that’s a good thing. It took a while, but I eventually managed to pull the steel wires through it to slice it open. It was a bit nerve wracking starting up the router again after doing it all, but it eventually came back up and all worked fine. We can now get to work fixing the plaster on the window where the socket used to be.

        Cheers!

        • Rob Govier04-12-2017

          Thanks, Andrew! Dropwire 10 is hard to work with, but it’s what BT Openreach use, and is extremely resilient.

          • vinkster04-14-2017

            Gosh, we are so confused with the same thing here. Previous tenant cut all wires from old aerial to built into walls hidden wiring. We get talk talk contract they send out a router, say plug it in and off you pop to land of web. Erm no not happening,have no wires into back of test/master sockets,pins a/b no wires in. A box with black wire up from ground attatched outside living room external wall leading nowhere no socket attatched. Blackbwire feeding into master socket but not back pinned. Please help anyone.

          • Rob Govier04-14-2017

            Oh dear me! I suspect that the previous occupant has disconnected the cable. This is not uncommon if work has gone on, and the master has needed to be detatched from the wall for plastering, etc.

            It should be possible to sever and joint the cable outside, and run a new cable to the master socket. This is fairly advanced cable-fiddlerey, and I’d recommend the services of an independent engineer. Please mail me via the “contact” page with your postcode and I’ll see if I can match one to your location.

            Rob

  9. Paula Smith05-15-2017

    Hi Rob, my master socket comes in under my bed (big heavy king size oak slay bed) which means my modem is just a few inches away from my pillow. I have heard that wifi is not good for you and so was thinking about moving my master socket.

    Not only is it very inconvenient for any maintenance having it under the bed, but I am seriously worried about my health. What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks, Paula

    • Rob Govier05-15-2017

      Hello! I’ve not heard of modems affecting health. The amount of “radio stuff” they radiate is probably small in comparison to other sources such as mobile phone transmitters, and even mobiles themselves.

      Of course, officially your master socket can’t be moved, but I’ve known of good independent engineers who do it. An alternative would be to cable another socket as a “slave” of the master one, hence your modem could then be anywhere in the house, and losses from the cable would be minimal, if decent cable is used.

      I hope that this helps.

      Rob

  10. Helen05-17-2017

    Hi,
    Im in north London near Enfield Town/Oakwood and wondered if you knew anyone you could put me in touch with. Our master is upstairs in a bedroom where our hub is plugged into – we have poor connection a lot of the time due to the house having quite thick walls – would like the hub downstairs in our hall way/lounge – which ever is best but understand we cannot move the master. Thank you in advance
    Kind Regards

    • Rob Govier05-17-2017

      Hello – I have forwarded your enquiry to one of my contacts who has his own contacts in North London.

      Rob

  11. Baldeep05-23-2017

    Our master socket is in our downstairs lounge, but due to modern phones needing power, we cannot use our master socket. We have to run phones and router from upstairs which is slightly inefficient.

    I’ve questioned why master sockets are not near plug sockets and this used to be a standard (I was informed by the engineer). Nowadays they are.

    In our case, it means we lose some of our internet speed but it’s not a big loss.

  12. Jim06-06-2017

    Hi,

    I live in a flat, and have had fibre problems for over 12 months with more than 10 visits from OR.

    Nutshell being that OR insist that the drop-out issues I have on a regular basis is because my wiring is split between the DP and the master.

    As I live in a block of flats OR insist they have no responsibility to fix the problem. Their liability is to the DP NOT the master.

    I cannot for the life of me get my ISP to understand this problem. They insist on sending OR engineers out over and over and the problem never gets resolved.

    I’m not convinced they split-wiring/split-pairing is the entire problem but obviously OR have pinned their fault on this and there’s nothing either party can do either way to prove or discount it.

    Any suggestions?

    I’m not against recabling a new line between the DP to the master myself if required (one OR engineer did suggest he could run a new cable on the outside of the building but my lease does not allow that – he then told me that OR would not touch the cabling internally as it’s not their responsibility).

    So.. if OR won’t accept responsibility past the DP – technically am I within my rights to resolve the cabling issue between the DP and the master?

    Thanks.

    Jim

    • Rob Govier06-06-2017

      This is nonsense. Anything on the exchange side of the master socket is not your responsibility. It is up to your ISP to take this up with Openreach. If the problem persists, mention to your ISP that you are taking the issue up with OFTEL. You are paying for a service which is not being provided, and no-one is admitting liability for the shortcoming. Meanwhile, lodge a dispute with your ISP via OFTEL.

  13. Tom07-19-2017

    Hi,

    We moved into a new house in october. When doing up the front room we needed to replaster the walls and whilst undertaking work we decided to move the master socket as it came in the side of the window and would have ended up behind the sofa with the need of an extension cable running to it. I moved it using the same process you stated above by getting the correct wire and junction box etc. on eBay/amazon and all was well. Now 7 months later the broadband signal has decided to start droping out everytime I use a machine connected to it, is this likely a fault with the wiring I have extended on to the original cabling? I’ve ring the provider ee and upon testing they have found no issues and so have passed it on to bt, which has got me worried they will find the extension and I’m not sure what the consequences of that will be?

    Cheers Tom

    • Rob Govier07-19-2017

      Hello,

      Has anything taken place that could have damaged the cable or connector? It’s worth checking.

      If there was an issue with your cable work, then you would have had problems from the day you made the change.

      Most providers’ line tests come up OK, even when there’s no dial tone to the house. I never trust them.

      The average Openreach engineer will want to be in and out of your house as quickly as possible, so providing your work is reasonable professional, there should not be an issue.

      I hope that this helps!

      Rob

  14. Steve G07-22-2017

    We just moved into a new build house a few months ago and the master socket is in the hallway near the front door. We’ve got our (Sky) router set up on some furniture there and wi-if is fine, but ideally I’d like a wired connection for my PC (directly upstairs) and my consoles/set-top box (in the room down the hall). What’s the best way to do this? How much speed would i lose if I moved the router to the living room extension socket?

    • Rob Govier07-22-2017

      Thanks for the visit!

      If you use quality cable and components, and route the cable away from sources of interference, then I’d suspect that the loss would be negligible.

      My favoured option is to use cat 5 or cat 6 cable from the ethernet ports on the hub to points in the house. The data travelling on this is less susceptible to interference than is the broadband signal. Interference with broadband is not common, but it’s always good to eliminate another variable. I use external grade data cable and route it discreetly on the outside of the house.

      I would advise against using inherited cabling in a house, as you never know what someone has bodged onto the wiring in hidden places!

      I hope that this helps!

      Rob

  15. Nina K07-23-2017

    Hi Rob,

    Hope you can advise me of the correct corse of action to take. I live in a council house with the master being on the inside window sill on the landing. This window is very tall and narrow and has a small window sill for the master to just fit on it. When I first moved in I ran extension cables and microfilters upstairs and downstairs to were the main phone is and upstairs were the modem is. Now I have had the windows measured externally by a company that has been contracted by the council to come and fit new double glazed windows. They came to measure them without anyone home…. so unable to ask the person if it would be a problem that the master was where it is….. Here comes the problem as if the window fitters come and take that window and sill out will it damage/move the master? Should I try and move it myself? Or hope that they don’t do something to it…. Should I take photos of before and after in case I need to show the ISP or the window fitting company??

    Hope you can advise

    Kind Regards

    Nina

    • Rob Govier07-25-2017

      Hello Nina,

      > Should I take photos of before and after in case I need to show the ISP or the window fitting company??

      Oh yes…! Window companies (and carpet and kitchen fitters) are notorious for chopping off someone’s service to the house, then claiming “we don’t do phones – you’ll need to get someone else. We won’t pay for them, though, as the thing was in the way anyway” (or similar).

      I don’t really mind, as it generates work for me….

      Often, they unclip and unscrew it in order to get their window in, then leave it flopping around unfastened.

      I would either persist with the window company, or get an independent engineer in to either repair or resite the master according to what you want. He may even be able to improve broadband speed by optimising the cabling in your house. Drop me your postcode and I’ll see if I have any contacts nearby.

      Rob

  16. Ana Silvestre10-19-2017

    Hi! I know this is quite an old post, but I have a question.
    I recently moved to a new flat, and I have a BT socket in the living room (where I actually need it) and another one in one of the bedrooms (where I don’t need it!). It happens when the engineer came to my place to activate the line, he said the master socket was the one in the bedroom and that there was no signal in the other one.
    We really need the one in the living room to work, as we have a tv box that needs to be connected by cable, and having cables from one side to the other of the house is simply not an option, and we’re not talking about just a few inches.
    We called Sky (our provider) to book an engineer visit to have this sorted, and they said the only option is to move the master socket. However, in my office for example, we have 6 sockets in a row and they all work. I mean, we can have more than one socket working in our flat, right? Who should we contact to have this work done?

    • Rob Govier10-19-2017

      Hello,
      It’s possible to have other sockets running off the master, and they are designed to permit this.
      If you drop me a line via the website contact page, mentioning your postcode, I may be able to find you an independent engineer local to you who might be able to help.

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