Bell recently filed a lawsuit in New Brunswick against Stuart McCann, who has been criminally charged with theft of copper wire. The lawsuit alleges Mr. McCann stole copper telephone wire, causing approximately 1,000 customers in the Fredericton area to lose home phone, Internet and TV for approximately 12 hours. Bell is also pursuing all of Mr. McCann’s co-conspirators, including any individuals or scrap metal businesses who knowingly purchased the stolen copper.
“With 420 security incidents on Bell’s network since January 2022, 75% of which being copper theft, we are taking extra measures to protect our critical infrastructure by issuing lawsuits against people accused of vandalism. Our customers deserve reliable communications networks to stay connected and reach emergency services, which is taken from them after each incident until repairs are completed,” said, Dana Lohnes, Director of Field Services, Bell Aliant.
Bell intends to vigorously prosecute this claim, and pursue future claims against individuals and scrap yards who engage in copper wire theft or trafficking.
Incidents of copper theft are on the rise, responsible for 75% of security incidents on Bell’s network. Vandals are cutting down telecommunication cables from poles to steal the copper wire and then selling that copper for cash. Each incident takes on average 10 to 12 hours to repair, and during this time customers may not have access to Internet, TV and home phone, which impacts their ability to reach emergency services.
Extra alarms, security and support from local law enforcement isn’t enough of a deterrent. Bell is calling on provincial and federal governments to help communications providers improve the resiliency of Canada’s telecommunications networks. Governments need to take decisive, timely action to increase fines and make amendments to the Criminal Code, reflecting the essential nature of this critical infrastructure on the security of this country.
Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media and business communication services throughout the country. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc.