Removing The Phone Line From My House

phone-lineWhen I bought my house in 2011 I knew that I wouldn’t be signing up for land line phone service. I never called the local phone company (Verizon) to cancel the prior owner’s service (I am assuming their realtor did) and I never saw a bill, so I assume that everything was shut off before I bought the house. That said, even though I’m not a customer, there’s still a cable coming off the line in front of my house and a big gray “Network Interface Device” box mounted to the side of my house. Now, it’s not horrible, and it’s not really doing anything, but my cable and electricity come in to one side of the house, and this box is on the other side. It just looks out of place.

I asked a few homeowners that I know that also don’t have land line service what they did about their service and most said that they either never had it activated (the route I took) or they called the phone company and had the service cancelled. When I asked what they did about the physical wire and box, everyone that I spoke with said that they just left it there. I asked people how I could go about getting it removed and some said that it was illegal, that the phone company just wouldn’t do it, or “if you go to sell the house in the future it will reduce the value.”

I left it go for about a year and this past weekend while doing some yard work I once again noticed the inactive box on the side of my house and finally decided to act and contact Verizon and get a definitive answer. The worst thing they could tell me was that they weren’t going to do it, but until I asked them directly, I’d never know for sure.

Since it was Sunday I sent a support request through their website, figuring that they wouldn’t be taking non-urgent phone calls on a weekend. I got a reply regarding my request to remove the line saying “I apologize for any frustration or inconvenience this has caused.” (how polite) and they told me to call 1-800-VERIZON to schedule someone to come out. This was great news.

I called and since I wasn’t quite sure what department I needed I chose the “everything else” options on their automated menu and spoke with a very polite woman (her name escapes me) and I explained that I wanted the box removed from my house. She asked why, and after I explained that I didn’t want phone service and I can’t see me ever wanting it, she told me that they don’t normally remove those boxes in case I would ever sell the house in the future and the new owner would want phone service. I thanked her, but said that I didn’t like the box being there and really wanted it gone. She told me that she couldn’t transfer me to the repair department, but asked that I call back in and select that option so someone could set up an appointment.

I called back in, selecting the repair option and was ready for someone to try to talk me out of removing the box. The guy I spoke to didn’t even flinch when I said that I don’t want residential phone service and would like the box removed. He took down my address and a contact phone number and said someone will be out tomorrow to remove the line.

Once I stopped dancing around the issue and just called the phone company, I was on the phone for less than 10 minutes. I’ll post an update once the technician comes out to let everyone know if there were any complications.

[Update: 5/14/2013 12:55 pm]
A few people asked me how much Verizon was going to charge me to remove the equipment and I told them that the representative didn’t even mention it. A few said that I would likely just get a bill in the mail. To be sure I called back and spoke with a guy named Matt who said that any of the lines outside of the house are owned by Verizon and they are 100% responsible for them so there would be no charge. (That’s a relief.) They only charge if they have to do something to the wiring inside the house.

[Update: 5/16/2013 9:34 am]
No one came out on 5/15 to remove the line from my house so this morning I called Verizon to find out why. I spoke with Pam who was very polite and she said that my support request had been closed, even though nothing was done. She entered in a new support request of me and when I asked her when I could expect someone to come out she said that she has it in to be done today since someone closed the old ticket without doing the work.

[Update 5/17/2013 1:10 pm]
Since no one came out yesterday like they said they would, I called Verizon to check on the status of the repair ticket. I spoke with Ed and he told me that the ticket was still open and even though it was scheduled for yesterday, it was still pending for someone to come by and remove the line.

[Update 5/29/2013 4:35 pm]
There still hasn’t been any action on removing the line, so I called customer service at Verizon and once again, everyone was very nice, polite and profesional. I spoke to Michelle and she told me that my trouble ticket was referred to a local foreman to take a look at my house and that was all she could see. She said that I could talk with a supervisor to see if they could get more information about the status, and I said that would be a good idea. When she attempted to transfer me I was disconnected.

I called back and explained my situation again, this time to Jennifer who said that, yes, it was referred to a local foreman, and that a supervisor may be able to give me more information, but that in their system all they could see was that the ticket was referred to a local person. She then transferred me to the supervisor line and I spoke with Lou. Lou told me that he could see that the ticket was transferred to a local foreman and in situations like this, a foreman will be tasked with driving by and taking a look to evaluate what needs to be done before a work crew can be dispatched. He said that he would see what he could find about the status of my request and would call me back within 10 – 15 minutes.

[Update 5/29/2013 4:50 pm]
Lou called back and said that when it was referred to the local wire center it was closed improperly. He asked for a bit of clarification on what I want done (The box and wire removed) and he clarified my address. He said he’s going to call me back with a new ticket number. This has been a lot of back and forth on the phone, but everyone has been extremely helpful and nice about giving me all of the information that I’m requesting.

[Update 5/29/2013 4:55 pm]
Lou called back with a new ticket number and apologized profusely for the mixup that has been going on. He said that I should get a phone call within a few days from someone regarding having a foreman come out to look at what I want done. He said that if I don’t hear from someone by Friday to call back and ask for a supervisor so they can call over to dispatch to find out what is going on. I thanked him for being so helpful and he again apologized for the inconvenience and thanked me for my patience.

[Update 6/7/2013 11:20 am]
I called in and spoke with Janice, who was very helpful and told me that once again, my ticket had been closed with no action taken. She told me that she would create a new ticket with a red flag on it to get a supervisor’s attention. She told me that the appointment to have the line removed is for Tuesday, June 11. I told her that if I don’t hear or see anything by the middle of next week, I’ll call back in to get a status update.

[Update 6/11/2013]
When I got home from work today I noticed that The phone line had finally been removed.

[Update 11/14/2014] (The year is not a typo)
Verizon sent someone out today to remove the rest of the wire that had been coiled up on the line between utility poles for almost a year and a half.

53 thoughts on “Removing The Phone Line From My House

  1. I’m thinking that you are starting a trend! Since they claimed it was uncharted territory? I’d want it removed too!

    • I guess I’ll find out when I get home from work tomorrow. They said no one needed to be home for the work to get done. I’m just hoping it doesn’t come with a bill in the mail later.

  2. We haven’t used our phone line in years, either. We have VOIP in the house, and to be honest, we never use that either. It’s actually off because my husband moved the entire network’s worth of equipment last month and he never plugged the stuff back in to turn our phones back on.

    • What data service do you have? It is possible that you could be running what they call a dry line from the phone company which is a phone line without voice yet provides data. If you’re running something like Comcast for your data it would be no problem. If you are running a dry line then removing the phone line box but also disable your data service. the outside phone box does more than just voice.

  3. Hi Todd,

    I started calling Verizon about 10 days ago. I do not keep as good records as you do. However, my story is remarkably similar to yours with one exception.
    Mine has not been removed yet.
    Just got off the phone with a Verizon worker. He told me my order number has been cancelled. He gave me a new number, and now the work should be completed no later than Tuesday next week. (in 5 days).
    I have to try a different route if it does not work out this time.


      • Hi Todd,

        They came about a week later.
        Then they must have gotten their ‘wires’ crossed.
        A couple of days later a second guy came to remove the wire.
        I thanked him, told him it was already done. He had a puzzled look on his face.


  4. Pingback: Cutting Cable and Switching Internet Providers | Todd Dietrich

  5. Hi Todd,

    I appreciate the details of your experience with Verizon removing your phone line. I just put in a work order for the same tadk from AT&T. I will give you an update as to what takes place tomorrow.

  6. When you call your local phone company, tell them that you are remodeling that outside portion of the house and that the lines need to be removed asap. They came out the next day when I called and used that reason.

  7. Thanks for the info, I became frusrated w/ Verizon also when they kept stallin on the removal of the line from the house, I told them today in three days I will be cutting the line at my house and advised them thy should come take care of their wire hanging from the pole. We’ll see how it goes

    • I removed my wire and box myself. I was replanting the grass in my front yard and in the process of tilling up the old turf, I snagged the phone line from the pole to the house. I wasn’t going but maybe 2 inches into the ground. But it ripped the wire completely out from the house to halfway up the pole. The box was almost completely ripped off the house and the wire ripped in half about halfway up the pole. I took the box off and lived there another ten years. No one ever questioned it.

  8. Thanks for this great post! I just embarked on this mission myself by calling Verizon. The rep, very nice, was unable to issue a “miscellaneous ticket” because her system was not working. Her solution is to reboot and call me back in 20+ minutes because she also just happens to have a meeting she needs to go to now.

    • After not hearing back I called back and spoke with another rep. They have scheduled someone to come out in a few days to remove the line. I’ll update what happens, or doesn’t happen.

      • Verizon was scheduled to come out Tuesday (tomorrow) and instead they came today. I can’t believe it but they actually took down the line and box. All within 4 days of the first call.

  9. Hey, how do you know if it’s a Verizon box or does it not matter? Will they remove it even if it wasn’t them that installed it? Thanks.

    • It tried AT&T and they said it wasn’t theirs. Heard Verizon was the other primary phone vendor in the area so called them. I suggest just calling and see what happens. It doesn’t cost anything.

    • The box on the side of my house had the Verizon logo embossed on it. If there’s no logo I would ask your neighbors who they have for phone service. It didn’t cost anything to have the line or box removed. That said, I removed the line from the box to my house. Verizon said that anything after the box isn’t their responsibility.

      • You are a trail blazer. I do not often comment but I liked this alot. I bought my home two years ago. I will be calling for the box and wires to be removed by the phone company. Thanks.

  10. Does anyone know anything about having a buried line removed? We have one going diagonally across our yard and I want to dig out that part of the yard to enlarge the parking area. It was marked orange for communications. I also have a lot of weird looking cables and things on the side of my house where people walk up to the front door. Thanks.

  11. My mother and I got into a discussion this morning after the land-line was ringing off the hook from telemarketers. She commented that sometimes she wished that she could just unplug the house phone (we both primarily use cell phones). We often have infant grandchildren over whose sleep gets interrupted by the house phone. I told her to just unplug the phone, if she didn’t want to be bothered! She replied that it was against the law! I asked her who told her this and she stated the phone company! I assured her that it is not against the law to unplug your own phone. She came back with a comment that she asked a police officer and he stated the same thing as the phone company! I knew better and decided to research for myself, when I came across all of your comments. While the issue is not exactly the same, I am glad that forums such as this exists to get the truth out there! Thank you!

  12. I’m going to be purchasing a home in a few weeks. I haven’t had a home phone line in 10+ years, and I don’t intend to have one in the future. You can bet that shortly after I move in I will be having the phone line removed from the pole to my house. Thanks for the idea and the process.

  13. I’ve been on the pbo e with a t and t for at least 4 hours. I keep getting people who say it’s not their dept and three times I’ve been disconnected. The standard hold time is abog 30 – 45 minjtes for each person to tell me it’s not their dept. The last lady was in the order dept and she told me that i hax not been on the phone for 3.5 hours. She was going to transfer me and said i will hear silence for a few minutes…that went on for 10 minutes which i figure it is equal to laying the phone down and ignoring it. I’m going to report it all to the Public Utilities Comission.

  14. I bought the Ooma VOIP service and connected it through my cable internet. As soon as my existing phone number ported to Ooma, AT&T canceled my landline account. I called them to verify the account was closed and to ask them about removing their network interface box and their wire from my house. The first rep I talked to said they don’t remove equipment from your house. My AT&T online account was still active, so I did a chat. That rep said yes they will do if for no charge, just call service. I called their repair service. They had a man out here in about two hours to take the box and remove the wire. I saved the chat dialog just in case they try to come back and bill me for removing their equipment and wire. I’m in Houston, TX.

    • I spent several hours for two consecutive days on the phone with them while they sent me back and forth to some of the same departments where I waited for them for about 30 minutes. The last lady I talked to called me a liar because her digital information did not show that I had been on the phone for several hours that day. She got real angry with me and basically said I was lying. What she did not five me a chance to say was that I had gotten disconnected twice that day so there monitors did not tell the true story. They kept sending me back and forth and to some of the same departments. The house has tenants in it now and none of the tenants living there has had a land line within the last 15 years. Apparently at some point lightening struck the line and burned the area on the house where the line feeds into the house. We were needing to get the entire house painted and needed the line to be removed.

      • Oh my… well, my 30 minutes of transfers with AT&T allowed me to read thru this very enlightened forum. So far I feel blessed. However, I did have to become stern to get to the correct department, but was given a “Misc Ticket” after the 3rd transfer since I did not have previous landline service at the location. I moved into this home almost 5 years ago and came across this buried line while digging a pond. I had the lines located previously and moved the location due to active lines and really hope they keep their appointment to be there by 7:00pm today.

    • After finding this helpful thread I called AT&T and after about 2 minutes of waiting on hold I got a rep and he stated they would be out within 24 hours to remove the box and line, no problem! Glad to see they work so easily with someone who isn’t even a customer!

  15. Todd, this is exactly what we face, save for the fact that our phone line has been knocked down, so it runs along the yard, across the driveway, and blocks our garages, preventing us from using them.

    And despite calling two different phone companies (we don’t have service either), no one has responded.

    My thought is to simply cut the lines and leave them tacked to the telephone pole.

  16. 4/9/16 Yesterday I returned from work and drove up my street and saw the vinyl siding ripped off the side of my home. When I started to investigate I see the wires hanging from the side as well and see the wiring laying split in half in the road and still attached to the pole across the street. I called Allstate to see what has to be done and I guess someone is going to come out eventually. I then called the police department to make another report to cover myself. The wires are not electrical and all services are still working in the house everywhere. I then called Verizon and report the issue and they told me it can not be their wire because all my services are still working. Today I see PSEGLI across the street and going to cut the wire in the road and I was told this is an old Verizon wire. I have the wire tied up to keep for evidence now and recalled Verizon this morning to notify them another wire is hanging low from the pole and nearly able to be hit by a truck coming down the street and I am told no one can come out until maybe Monday to look at the problem. No one can tell me what to do next so I am wondering if I am liable for the damages to my house. It looks like a car or truck hit a low hanging wire and caused all the damage and Verizon said it might have been the wind but anyone seeing the damage knows it isn’t from just wind.
    I am just glad to have this forum to be heard and have record of the on going events as I am sure Verizon will deny everything and it will be all my fault as all big business does to cover their asses and make every penny possible.
    If anyone can give me some knowledge in this I would appreciate it. Lance

  17. Verizon came and nailed up the vinyl siding and I still didn’t hear from the higher up parties yet. The workers were very prompt and helpful. I was told the management would get back to me on Monday and it is Wednesday and I haven’t heard anything yet. I have an insurance adjuster coming today as well so I am still in the dark as of this morning.

  18. this is The hardest company to get in touch wiith you call the number which they give you 8374966 which is a recorder and they hang up on you i have a pole in front of my home which is tied up with a string , this pole looks like it is comiing down any minuTe my home is right in front of this pole i cant get anyone to help me please before someone gets killed my tel number is 516 681 3744

  19. Okay we will see how this all shakes out. Called and received a ticket number and the representative indicated that repair would take 24 to 48 hours. Also stated, if no one shows then call the same number as Lillian posted above. I’m crossing my fingers that this is taken care of and I can report good things.

    The landline wire (which we haven’t used in years) is directly over our swimming pool and every time we clean it the pole hits the line. In addition, the birds are now using it as their perch and droppings are going directly into the water. This can’t be sanitary and I’m hoping this will be rectified sooner rather than later.

  20. I am happy to know that some of you have had success. I stayed on the phone for several hours being transferred back and forth between departments. The repair dept told me they could not help me because I do not have an account for them to put an account # for repair. One lady hung up on me because I told her that I had been on the phone for hours and she insisted that I had not been on the phone for hours. I suppose she could see how long I had been on the phone with that particular call because I had to call back several different times. She did not give me time to explain that I had called several times that day and had gotten disconnected several times. This was not a pleasant experience. Do you think it is because I am a minority that I could not get anyone to help me? I was polite to everyone but they kept passing me around to different depts; although, the same depts sometimes had just passed me to their dept. I spent most of my time on hold and had to continuously explain what I needed to each person. We need to paint that side of the house and the line is in the way. It has not been used in at least 15 years.

  21. I should say something good about AT&T when they deserve it. I had two drop wires running from the pole to my house, unused for twenty years. I called yesterday afternoon to ask about getting them removed. I was transferred only twice. No long wait times. The second person said I needed the POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) department and transferred my call. The rep. was very competent, polite, and helpful and not fazed by my not having a telephone number or account. She said they would be out the next day between 8 and 5. When I came down stairs this morning at 8 and looked, they were gone. The only difficulty I had was finding the first number to call.

  22. Have my wire removed last month To make to put up a garage It was a night mare getting it through The person from Verizon what I wanted done Now my neighbors wire is going to be in the way He also don’t need the wire any longer has not had a in home phone for a long time

    He said I could call about getting his taken down He didn’t have time I can see this is going to another night mare

    Yard area looks 100% better with out all those wires hanging all over the place

    Also had my Comcast and my neighbors Comcast wire rerouted Another nightmare talking to those people on the phone 4 different works orders until someone with brains figured it out
    Now my neighbor can walk on his deck without hanging himself from the cable wire

  23. FairPoint is the local phone company in Northern New England. They purchased the infrastructure from Verizon a while back. I called to ask to have the box removed from my home today, and the customer service person said they charge $225 to do that.

    I could not find this information anywhere on their website or through a Google search, so perhaps this will help someone else in the FairPoint area.

  24. I called FairPoint a couple of days ago to have the unused (for at least 8 years) telephone line removed from my house in New Hampshire so I could get some tree work done. I got a quote for $222.20 to have it removed. I will be contacting the PUC.

    • Please update as I also live in New Hampshire and no longer want this line hooked to my house.
      FairPoint told me it would be at least 200.00 to remove.
      Thinking about removing myself….

      • The tariff filed with the NHPUC cites $222.20 as the cost to remove the unused line and NID. I found this on the Internet yesterday but don’t seem to be able to retrace my steps today. I suppose you could call the NHPUC for confirmation.

        I can’t find that the home owner has the right to require Fairpoint to remove these items at no cost. Removing it oneself could be a risky proposition from a liability standpoint. YMMV.

  25. Thanks for inspiring me to take action. We did a remodel years ago after which I never had the phone line reconnected to our home. (We use cable internet and OOMA.) Two weeks ago, the local phone utility (CenturyLink, in Minneapolis) installed a line, out of the blue, without asking. It dangled much lower than the power line, in the view from our bedroom window. Since it would never be used and is ugly, after reading your blog I called CenturyLink and politely asked for it to be removed. They forwarded me to the line repair department, who promptly came out (within 12 hours) and removed it. I am so pleasantly surprised!

  26. What a story! I found this because I’m looking to do the same thing. Verizon is coming out tomorrow to fix and hopefully move their lines, and at the same time i’m going to try and get them to cut any old unused lines (POTS, Comcast) and remove the old Network Interface box. Would love to see a before and after pictures if you have them.

  27. I found this site because I was wondering how to do the same thing. Residing my house and want the exterior junction box gone. My phone wiring is in a dedicated underground conduit from the pole, it pops out of the ground next to my other services (electric, cable). I don’t use landlines and cut much of the stuff inside the house already during interior remodeling.

    Verizon told me I could just cut the lines myself, I’ll be opening the box and removing/cutting 1 by 1 to avoid any potential shorts, taping each, and tucking excess into conduit. I’ll also be cutting conduit close to grade (maybe 6″), capping, and putting a note inside & outside the conduit so folks in the future know what it is.

    • Hi Kalan! May I ask how cutting the cables went? This is exactly what I want to do, but I’m concerned about getting a shock. My incoming line is the old copper, Verizon now has Fios cable on our street, so I know this old wiring will never be used and I’m assuming it no longer carries any power. Thank you so much in advance for your reply,

      • I did not cut the lines. As I stated in my post, I called Verizon and they had someone come out and remove the line from my house.

  28. I found this thread because, like so many others, I’m having a similar issue. In addition to having this cable dangling from the pole, I don’t know what service provider installed it. I’ve called AT&T who claims that because I’m not a current subscriber, there’s nothing I can do. I also called Spectrum, my current provider to say they left old cables up when I had their service installed. They claim they can’t touch anyone else’s equipment. So I have this wire dangling in my backyard and can’t find anyone that will take ownership.

  29. 1) Anyone just cut the line near the pole, or cut it off the house and wrap it around the pole? I bet I could reach the two ‘cable’ lines with a pole saw (nowhere near power lines). . .
    2) anyone from CT with AT&T/Frontier had them out to remove lines from the house?
    We have two old lines coming in, and one new. I will be re-siding (perhaps not till next year) but they are unsightly.

    • Hi! Did you cut the wires? I plan on doing the same to Verizon’s old copper that is now replaced by Fios–we use cable, however, not Fios, so Verizon has not responded to numerous calls. If safe, I will cut them, roll them up at the base of the pole and then remove the box. Thanks!

  30. Very glad to have found this thread! I have tried and failed to get anyone at Verizon here in SE PA to respond. They now have Fios cable in our neighborhood (we have Comcast cable instead) so I know they will never use the old copper wiring coming into our house or the old junction box attached to the house. My plan is the cut the cables, roll them up at the bottom of the pole, and then start removing the box and lines from the house (our house is brick and stone, so all the old lines snake all over the exterior walls–ugly and pointless). Here’s my simple question: Will I risk getting a shock if I simply cut the incoming wires? Thank you in advance for your reply!

  31. You realize you could have just removed it yourself right? Technically they have no right to have a service line on your property that you don’t want. You leave it bundled either on or by the pole, and if they feel like it, or notice it. They’ll remove it completely. They own the line, but you own the property, and the home on it. Its quite common to see old phone lines bundled by the pole. Of course the actual phone company is going to do anything they can to avoid you removing it for that “Just in case you may eventually want it” scenario. And to the last commenter. No you will not get shocked. Not unless you touch the exposed wires on the inside together, and then touch those. Even then that may only be on an active line. It’s happened to me when installing phone jacks to connect to boxes for directv. And even then it’s not much of anything. Very low voltage.

  32. Thank you Luke! I have worked on and removed lots of interior phone line and, as you note, it carries only a tiny bit of electric, so no shock. I just wasn’t sure about the incoming exterior lines. I will cut them, roll them up at the pole and start removing all the wires and boxes from my house ASAP. For anyone reading this thread thinking “why not just have Verizon do it?” I have contacted Verizon about this, several times. Each time I was told “someone” would call me back to schedule removal. Still waitin’ for that call back, over a year later!

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