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Copper cable theft cripples broadband and phone customers in Portsmouth

Copper cable theft cripples broadband and phone customers in PortsmouthCopper cable thieves have struck again, depriving thousands of broadband and phone customers in north Portsmouth of services. 

It’s estimated that 20,000 customers have lost access to broadband and phone services due to the incident. A message from Aquiss Broadband’s Twitter feed earlier today alerted us to the problem and we contacted BT for more information.

BT confirmed that it has suffered ‘malicious cuts’ thanks to a ‘possible attempted theft’ and will be working to get normal service restores as soon as possible.

Aquiss says that the ETA it’s been given is March 26th – next Tuesday. A BT spokesperson told us:

“We are doing all we can to get this repaired as quickly as possible. The process of restoring service to customers has started, with most work expected to complete over the weekend. We would appeal to local residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour in or around street cabinets or manhole covers immediately.”

Copper cable theft cripples broadband and phone customers in Portsmouth
Coppers catch copper crims – BT’s broadband network is a popular target for theives

Read Recombu Digital’s report on Broadband Cable Theft and BT’s anti-theft RABIT technology

As well as this, BT is working with Crimestoppers, offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful conviction of the thieves. People can call anonymously and free on 0800 555 111. 

BT has developed a number of measures to fight cable theft including the use of SmartWater, an invisible liquid similar to anti-climb paint that tags cable thieves and RABIT (Rapid Assessment BT Incident Tracker) which quickly pings BT and local police a memo whenever there’s a break in broadband activity, something that’s likely to be caused by people ripping it out of the ground. In this case, it doesn’t look like the RABIT has helped but it’s been instrumental in bringing people to justice before and forms a key part of BT’s anti-copper cable theft efforts. 

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