Bell Sues Copper Thief to Send Message to Vandals
- Bell faces 170+ copper theft incidents, causing over $3 million in damages.
- These thefts lead to service interruptions, affecting customers and emergency service access.
- Bell takes legal action and calls for government help to increase fines and protect critical infrastructure.
Bell’s network has been grappling with a surge in copper theft incidents, with over 170 occurrences in the past 15 months, primarily affecting New Brunswick, Ontario, and northern Québec. The thefts have inflicted damages exceeding $3 million on vital infrastructure and led to hundreds of hours of service outages for customers, explained the company in a press release.
To address this ongoing problem, Bell has filed a lawsuit against Sylvain Fleury, who has been apprehended for stealing copper wire from the company. Additionally, Bell is actively pursuing all those involved in the theft, including individuals or scrap yard businesses that knowingly bought the stolen copper.
“The relentless copper theft incidents not only jeopardize our infrastructure but also compromise our customers’ ability to access essential services. Our current measures are not enough; we need the government to step up and enact stricter fines and legislative changes to safeguard our critical infrastructure,” said Nick Payant, VP of Operations Services and Core Network at Bell, in a statement on Wednesday.
The rise in copper theft incidents sees vandals severing telecommunication cables from poles to sell the copper for profit. Repairing the damage from each incident takes around 10 to 12 hours, leaving customers without access to internet, TV, and home phone services during that time, says Bell.
Bell is appealing to both provincial and federal governments to assist communication providers in enhancing the resilience of Canada’s telecommunications networks. “Governments need to take bold, timely action to increase fines and make amendments to the criminal code, reflecting the essential nature of this critical infrastructure on the security of this country,” noted Bell.