Yesterday my neighbor said for two days he'd had no phone service except to put the phone by the window and plug it in outside. He asked if I could check his wiring.
Outside, I found that one of the contacts on his plug was invisible. There appeared to be unpigmented RTV in the jack. It had the physical characteristics of RTV when I scraped it off the plug. That restored his service. He said the crackling he'd had for two months was gone.
He keeps his gates locked so nobody will accidentally let his alert dogs out. Two months ago a woman from Bellsouth restored his service on the street pole. She also came into his yard. We couldn't think of any other possibility.
Bellsouth will annoy me with useless telemarketing day after day, so I don't know how they think. Could Bellsouth be injecting RTV into phone jacks because they think it's preventive maintenance or to create more service calls?