Brazil's Sercomtel sees rise in copper theft

Brazil regional service provider Sercomtel continues to see copper cable theft incidents rising in its service areas, reporting that thieves stole 1,724 meters of telephone cables in January alone.

These 19 incidences cost the service provider $26,000 in equipment and labor costs to make the repairs and customer downtime.

The copper theft trend continued into this month. Thus far, there have been seven incidents with over 800 meters of cable stolen.

Copper theft is not just relegated to Brazil as service providers in other countries such as the United States and Ghana have also seen an increase in copper theft in the past year. Incidents of theft tend to jump when the market price of copper rises.

In the U.S., Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) reported in December that in the span of 18 days it suffered four incidents of copper theft, which disrupted service to almost 250 customers.

A number of Verizon's fellow ILECs, including AT&T (NYSE: T), FairPoint (Nasdaq: FRP), Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), have been working with community members and state lawmakers to battle cable theft.

West Virginia has gone even further by passing a law that makes it illegal for scrap yards and recycling centers to buy some types of scrap metal unless the seller can prove lawful possession. 

For more:
- Telecompaper has this article (sub. req.)

Related articles:
Verizon takes on copper theft in Pa., offering $50,000 reward
Ghana service providers spend over $5M repairing cable cuts
West Virginia copper theft law seems to be working—for some
AT&T strikes back against copper theft in Phoenix with $5K reward offer
FairPoint fights copper theft in its New England territory