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UPDATE A Quick Look at BT Openreach’s New NTE5C Master Socket

Monday, February 8th, 2016 (1:24 pm) - Score 43,576
nte5c_master_socket_bt_openreach

Over the coming months BTOpenreach will start to introduce a new NTE5C Master Socket, which could make life a lot easier both for consumers who like to tinker and Openreach engineers who have no choice but to work with the existing sockets (NTE5 A / B) or even far older ones.

The new NTE5C Master Socket design, which I’ll grant you isn’t the most thrilling thing to talk about, first came to our attention last summer when it was mentioned on some of BT’s reports and then later alongside our coverage of the future standalone VDSL (FTTC) “fibre broadband” trials (here and here); Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA).

A Master Socket represents the first / main point inside your home or office for connecting to Openreach’s outside copper cable, which makes it the best socket for connecting with your broadband router. At present most people probably still have one of BT’s older designs, which was a characterless cream coloured box with a removable bottom faceplate and often a BT logo at the top.

Since then Openreach has refined their design, particularly with the Mk2 and Mk3 that added better filtering to help tackle interference and a separate DSL (broadband) socket at the top. But otherwise nothing too significant has changed with their approach, until now.

Highlights of the New NTE5C

* On the outside the new socket doesn’t look too different, except for its slightly elliptical rounding on the front and slanting top (pictured above). As before the bottom face / front plate can also be changed, so for example you may have one with a single “phone” socket or a dual “phone” and broadband design.

* The faceplate removal is now a clipped ‘Tool Less‘ design (no screwdriver / screws required).

* Some extra work on the design has also been done to better protect the cables / circuitry inside from corrosion.

* The internal wiring isn’t as fiddly because there’s less of it and Openreach are now using colour coded ‘Cam Locks‘ for connectivity (the ‘Network’ wire will be RED and ‘Home’ wiring connections are BLUE).

* The home wiring is no longer connected to the faceplate, which again makes it even easier to swap according to the service being installed.

Officially speaking Openreach won’t tell us anything and claim that they’re still consulting with ISPs, although unofficially many of the details have been available since they were leaked out by The Computer Person blog. It’s not normally the sort of thing we’d write about, but a few people asked us for more information.

Ultimately it’s all about Openreach adapting to make engineer visits / new service installations faster and meanwhile ensuring that their sockets can deal with forthcoming products like G.fast or SOGEA.

UPDATE 8:14pm

After finding a copy of the relevant magazine we can now upload the official flyer and in a bit better quality.

nte5c flyer

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Steve Jones

    Some of the more pertinent questions surely relate to the xDSL side of things. These include the following

    1) functionally, this does not seem to have any filtering (as there’s no DSL socket). Given that it would be a negligible cost, you have to wonder why as filtered and unfiltered sockets plus filtered and unfiltered connections for extensions would make it neater and more compact then the current solutions.

    2) if it has no built-in DSL filtering, then will there be an updated filtered faceplate and/or interstitial plate available, as it doesn’t look like the current ones will fit.

    Hopefully, if there are new filtered faceplates, they will be less intrusive than current designs.

  2. Will Hall

    We have an Openreach engineer visiting tomorrow and I suspect he’ll replace the ancient master socket we’re currently using! Hopefully it’ll be one of these 😀

    • I suspect they won’t as the official line is that NTE5C is still being consulted upon, but you never know. It’s more likely to surface around spring time.

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