There is a way of activating extension sockets without involving VM, but you would need to buy a cheap cable. The following is based on my experience.
I have Virgin Media broadband and also had a telephone line connected to a Virgin Media master socket. I had wired in a couple of extension sockets to the master socket. One extension in the hall and one in a bedroom in the opposite corner of the house. This is surprisingly easy to do, and I’ll give some pointers at the end of this item.
My landline telephone stopped working. The phone would ring but voices were inaudible at both ends. I had to call out Virgin Media. Their technician fiddled about for a little while but finally provided a small adaptor which allowed him to connect my telephone to the back of the router. Hey presto – the telephone works but left me with one connected handset and no working extension sockets. The Virgin Media technician suggested I buy a set of wireless-connected handsets to solve the problem. This is a setup where a wireless-enabled base station is connected into the only available socket and other handsets, in wireless-enabled cradles, connect to this basestation. OK as far as it goes, but what if you have a burglar alarm that plugs into a telephone extension to dial out, or your router is downstairs in one corner of the house and you need a handset upstairs in a bedroom in the opposite corner? It’s unlikely that these setups would make the wireless connection.
There’s a partial solution to this problem by getting a “BT plug to RJ11 crossover” cable. I got one for less than £3 on ebay. You plug the RJ11 end directly into the router, removing any adapter provided by Virgin Media, and the other end into the Virgin Media master socket. Any extension sockets wired into the master socket now work OK. In my case that means I can plug my main phone into the extension I have in the hall, and I can continue to use the handset that I have plugged into the extension in the bedroom.
If you have any problems then check that the extension socket wiring is consistent. That means using the correct colour coding for the cables and wiring them into the correct connectors on each socket. See the really excellent video I’ve mentioned below.
It's a partial solution because the master socket is no longer available for a handset – it has your new cable plugged into it. I could have worked around this. I would have had to make some minor adjustments to the extension wiring. I would take the cable for one of my existing extensions, say the hall extension, out of the master socket and add a cable for a new extension in its place. At this point I have two extension cables running into the master socket – as before. This new extension would be physically mounted just above the master socket. Next step would be to relocate the cable for my hall extension into my new extension socket. Then this socket also has two cables running into it. I would then have both my extensions as before plus a new socket to replace my unusable master socket.
Why not simply wire three cables into the master socket? Because of the excellent advice given in a Youtube video on how to wire up extension sockets. It’s entitled
“How to install a NTE5 Telephone Master Socket and Telephone Extension”
To find the video, just search for NTE5 on Youtube. It makes clear
The video points out how there are sometimes six connectors on an extension socket, but only numbers 2,3 and 5 are used. Note that if you’re dealing with a Virgin Media master socket, you may well find a block of four connectors, with numbers alongside from 1 to 6. None of the numbers line up correctly to the sockets! What you need to know is that Virgin Media have helpfully removed connectors 1 and 6 (they’re not used anyway), leaving you connectors 2 to 5. Connector 2 is at the end labelled 1, and connector 5 is at the end labelled 6. Geniusl!