FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP) is appealing to the public to help it battle copper theft in its northern New England territory.
One of its hardest hit areas is Vermont, where theft of copper lines has cost the service provider $20,000.
The telco will offer cash rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction for vandals that stole the copper wire.
Copper theft is not isolated to FairPoint alone. An ongoing rise in the price of metal has driven up the amount of theft occurring at five of the other largest U.S. telcos—AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), and Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR).
Windstream recently said that it had to spend $25,000 to replace copper cabling in its Broken Arrow, Okla., market, while AT&T reported it saw a rise in vandals knocking down area utility poles in Fresno County, Calif to obtain copper.
Given the fact that copper theft can not only inhibit emergency service, but also cause death to the perpetrators stealing the wire, some states like West Virginia, served by ILEC Frontier Communications, have proposed bills to curb copper theft.
- The Boston Globe has this article
AT&T says Alabama has the highest rate of copper theft
AT&T fights copper theft in Atlanta with $3,000 reward
BT gets RABIT on copper thieves' trail
West Va. Senate develops bill to curb copper theft