Hiding somewhere in your house may be an old phone junction box.    In my job as an independent telephone engineer, customers ask what they should do with it. Usually, it sits on a window ledge and prevents work on a window frame or blind installation. Therefore, I thought it was time to answer some FAQ,

What is it? What does it do?

Technically, a BT52A It’s a junction box, with screw terminal connectors. It connects pair of wires on the outside the property to those on the inside. That’s it. It could be over fifty years old.

Back then, hard-wiring connected your solitary telephone to this box (and you didn’t dare move it). Cordless phones were the stuff of science fiction. Films were sent to your house from a 650-foot-high transmitter on a local hill.  They didn’t come down a pair of wires less than a millimetre thick. No buffering, but not much choice.  Furthermore, attaching anything at all to the GPO network was utterly forbidden for Joe Public. Hence the inflexible wiring. Very different times.

Typically, this box was installed near where your phone was.  It had a 2 metre cable, a dial, and a bell that could be heard in the next county. A government department (“The General Post Office”) rented it to you. The Official Secrets Act applied to them. Yes, really

Why is it still there?

The engineers that have visited your property over the years simply couldn’t be bothered to remove it. Therefore, if it works, don’t fix it. Elsewhere in your house, they probably fitted a master socket.

If it’s old, why does it still work?

It is merely a very well-built connection box.  Amazingly, the one in the photo above was carrying a broadband download of around 75Mbps.

Do I have to move it?

Not if it works, unless it is in the way of some renovation work.

What can I replace it with?

A BT 78A or BT80A connection box. 

Do I have to have some kind of box where this one is?

No! The man from the GPO put it just where he wanted to, way back in time.

“You are privileged to be allowed access to The Government’s Apparatus. Hence we will place your telephonic device where we want to. God Save The Queen”.  “

“Telephone tables” could be bought to give your device some dignity.. Therefore, your phone was mounted on it like a football trophy, vase, or stuffed owl. 

Time for a change?

Nowadays, there are imaginative ways of getting your wired technology just where you want it. Therefore, it’s time to decide where you want your incoming line to arrive on your property. This often determines where your broadband will be filtered, and your router/hub located. Also, this is determined by the coverage your router’s wifi will give you.

Therefore, time for a major rethink. I have blogged about this elsewhere. It’s a hot topic. You don’t have to live with this 1950s old phone junction box, restricting where your router goes, located by a long-departed GPO “workman”.

Anything else?

Don’t try and get this moved by your provider. They really, really won’t understand.  I speak from the experience of dealing with customers who have spent hours on a call to an operative 3000 miles away who can’t cope with anything which isn’t on their script. A BT52A, and old phone junction box from 1965, certainly isn’t.

Who ya gonna call…?”

(Sadly, these guys can’t help)

However, independent experienced telephone engineers can help with any issues surrounding your old phone junction box. If you are in The North East, it might even be me. Please get in touch.