Bell files suit over alleged theft of copper from telecom networks – by Irene Galea (Globe and Mail – April 13, 2023)

After more than 170 incidents of stolen copper in the past 15 months, $3-million in damage and hundreds of hours of lost service, BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada has filed a lawsuit against an Ontario man accused of copper theft and asked the government to help it crack down on vandals.

The number of thefts of copper equipment has been rising for months and they are particularly frequent in New Brunswick, Ontario and Northern Quebec, Bell said in a news release. Copper wiring, a legacy technology which mainly carries landline services, can be sold illegally for high prices at scrap markets.

These incidents can leave many customers without internet, phone connection and access to emergency services for as long as 12 hours, the telecom said. They could also trigger “widespread network outages,” the company said in legal documents filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Bell is asking the federal government to raise the fines associated with theft of critical infrastructure and amend the Criminal Code accordingly.

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