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Copper cable theft wipes out broadband

BT engineer

By Barry Collins

Posted on 26 Apr 2010 at 07:16

Thousands of people in Kent are without broadband access after becoming the latest victims of copper cabling theft.

Thieves in Farningham, Kent reportedly severed six cables in the area as they stole 3km of copper wiring. The theft has left more than 2,000 people without telephone or broadband access, as BT works "around the clock" to repair the damage.

Copper has become a precious commodity in the past couple of years, shooting up in price by more than 300% and making it an attractive target for criminals.

In October, hundreds of residents in Berwick, Sussex were left without broadband after thieves stole more than 1km of copper cabling. Attacks have also been reported in Staffordshire, Surrey and Cambridgeshire over the past year.

Hapless thieves are even reported to have disrupted customers of Virgin Media earlier this year, after mistakenly ripping out the company's fibre-optic cabling, believing it to be copper.

BT admits that copper theft is becoming a growing and expensive problem. "Copper theft is a serious crime that is on the rise," the company told The Mail on Sunday recently. "In recent months, BT has been the victim of a number of incidents of copper theft from our telephone network, which have sometimes led to service problems for customers in those areas."

Ironically, most broadband customers would normally be glad to see the back of the speed-sapping copper wiring, which is largely responsible for slow connections on long lines.

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User comments

Opportunity?

Once, long, long ago I remember an article in this or another publication explaining how they could replace copper with fibre and use the sale of the copper to pay for it. That must be even more viable today than it was then?

By CLCKMSS on 26 Apr 2010

Couldn't BT rip up the copper cables, sell it, then use the funds from that to replace it with fibre?

By mjb3000 on 26 Apr 2010

Oh dear..

I've got to say this was an awful piece of tabloid writing,the article looks like it could have been lifted straight out of the News of the World or the Sun, it makes me cringe to read it.

By pinero50 on 26 Apr 2010

Copper has been stolen twice in Bedfordshire. In the last couple of months, my broadband has been down for as long as a week.

By Connor on 26 Apr 2010

Knocking the Knocker nickers

Come on Pinero - tell us what it *should* be, not what it *shouldn't*. Besides, it can't possibly be a tabloid article, it doesn't involve nudity, footballers, celebrities or the BNP...

By Steve_Cassidy on 26 Apr 2010

Send them up my way

Yes, it would be a pain waiting for BT to replace the wires, but it's probably the only way they will - the wiring around here is pre-war (Napoleonic, I suspect), according to the last BT chap I spoke to

By greemble on 26 Apr 2010

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