It is not clear how many people are affected by the issue we will discuss here, certainly we do not recall anyone mentioning it before, but you can find others using your favourite search engine. Alex Bloor who works for Andrews & Arnold has blogged about the experience of finding their line was suddenly not working on the same day that a Kelly engineer was working at the street cabinet.
The faults arose for Alex because it appears that the testing to find a spare pair by the Kelly team was either not done or random pair selection took place. Fixing a broken telephone by connecting it to a spare pair at the cabinet is a fairly standard procedure, but records are meant to be checked and tests done to ensure a live pair is not stolen. The last time we saw this as a widespread issue was when SDSL did not carry a phone signal, so to phone engineers it was essentially dead and spare.
Beyond the inconvenience that a non working line creates there is also the issue of the costs that can arise from what is believed to be the test procedure by Kelly staff to find a spare pair.
Now that looks reasonable, until you notice that 123 is actually the speaking clock, and can be charged at 15p to 30p and there is scope for an engineer to test several lines until they find one where the clock does not work. The reason AAISP lines are at risk of hijacking by this procedure is that outgoing calls are barred, in an attempt to create a naked DSL type phone line.
So the next time you have a phone bill that looks odd, check it for calls to the speaking clock.