TELONE, the country’s fixed line operator says it has stepped up efforts to curb cable thefts and vandalism that have been crippling the organisation’s operations and stalling development by installing alarms on its infrastructure.
The telecoms operator has been struggling to contain loss of property that has been blamed for perennial losses amounting to billions of dollars.
In a public warning yesterday, TelOne said the installation of alarm systems on its infrastructure, including copper cables, was in progress to protect telecommunications network.
“The development means that any act of theft or vandalism will be automatically detected and trigger the alarms which will be responded to by our reaction teams,” TelOne said.
“The project is nearing completion with most of our routes already covered. This has resulted in increased arrests resulting in sentences of up to 10 years imprisonment for convicted individuals.”
With the country submerged in economic tribulations, some people have resorted to delinquent acts for survival and these have seen theft of telecommunication cables and equipment in the country reaching record levels.
TelOne announced in December 2013 that it would carry out a rehabilitation exercise for its infrastructure that was extremely dilapidated with copper cables dangling or strewn on the ground while poles were missing.
After the exercise, the company, however, continued to record infrastructure losses. In yesterday’s warning, TelOne told the public that vandalism or theft of infrastructure is a serious offence which attracts stiff penalties like imprisonment of up to 10 years with no bail options available and forfeiture to the State of title to land or premises.
“Communication is a basic human right and it is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard the country’s infrastructure,” TelOne said.
The statement went on to urge the public to report any acts of vandalism or theft to the police.