Can I (safely) drop an outside phone line?

I have been unsuccessful searching for an answer to this question. I can always call the phone company, but I do not want to be on hold all afternoon and do not necessarily trust their answer.

A friend had some tree damage during recent wind/rain storms. I offered to come over with my chain saw and help him clean up the mess. One of the trees still standing is severely damaged and should be taken out. I am comfortable doing that, however the phone line from the pole to his home is in the way. No electrical service lines are present.

Is it legal/safe/possible to remove the line (secured to his house via a ceramic insulator) and let it lie (lay) on the ground long enough to drop the tree? Economics preclude his hiring a pro.


Safe and possible? Sure. Normal on-hook voltage on a phoneline is -48 volts, and ringing power is 90 volts. Sounds high, but a phone line has such high impedance, all that will happen to you if someone calls while you’re holding it is you’ll get a heck of a sting. I’ve never heard of anyone being actually harmed. Yes, getting your bell rung is a bit unpleasant, but I’m walking proof that it’s not dangerous.

If you can disconnect the line, do the tree work and re-connect the line without involving the phone company, they’ll probably be happy to have one less house to attend to in the storm clean-up.

Legally, it’s a gray area because they own the wire from the pole to the demarc / protector box that’s mounted on the house. But I really don’t think they’d have any trouble with this.

Thanks, gotpasswords. Just needed some reassurance, I guess. My friend thanks you as well!