Copper rustling costing telcos dear

12 Sep 2006

The Chilean government has announced it will be stepping up attempts to address the problem of copper theft, after a five-fold rise in prices over the past three years has seen the metal become the target of criminal gangs across the country. According to deputy telecommunications minister Pablo Bello, theft of copper wiring has grown exponentially in recent months and is now affecting large sectors of the population. Indeed, just last week Telefonica Chile reported that it expected cable theft to cost it about USD5.5 million in 2006 and affect at least 500,000 customers.