For all involved, of course the problem will be rampant if the only punishment is a slap on the wrist.
Prison time for thieves and large fines for the metal yards that deal with them.
BT is working with Scotland Yard in an effort to crack down on metal theft, which the Met said costs taxpayers £700m per year - not to mention the misery when power and telecoms cabling is nicked. A group – dubbed the Waste and Metal Task Force – has been formed, made up of the Metropolitan Police Service; representatives from …
Lol, maybe that's why it's going so fast.
Unfortunately it won't actually help much because it's being run alongside existing cabling. In fact your voice will still travel via copper to the exchange. In some cases (like mine) the data will actually go to a different exchange altogether.
The only thing that will really help here is to replace the copper loop with fibre. That's only on the cards for a few places at the moment but this week's announcement by Ofcom about battery backed FTTP is a step in the right direction:
With FTTC (aka BT Infinity) the copper pair from you house goes to the box down the street. There the data and voice are split. The voice continues its quaint (and ancient) route as an analogue signal to the exchange. The data jumps onto the fibre at the cabinet.
My area recently suffered telecoms cable theft. Phone was out, but broadband was fine (which was nice).
Maybe, maybe not.
I was referring to the way some towns are having their FTTC supplied from different exchanges. I live in Brackley but our exchange for FTTC is going to Banbury (12 miles away). I live on the Banbury side of town so assuming the cable topography is sensible(*) the data link will go straight from my cabinet to Banbury and won't go anywhere Brackley exchange. Voice however will continue to be provided by the Brackley exchange. I'm guessing that as/when/if the copper loop is finally removed Brackley exchange will be closed down.
But for ADSL both probably go down to the same cable to the same exchange. After that there could be differences I suppose especially if you're on an LLU service. Depends whether a third party has run their own backhaul for the exchange or if (as I suspect is usually the case) they rent capacity off BT for the first few kilometres.
(*)Yer, right. BT being sensible. Ho ho.
"Dystopian world"? What the hell are you dribbling on about?
Yes, of course fibre will primarily be for the internet. But it can also carry voice if that's what people want. Maybe mobile will make that pointless but equally ubiquitous internet probably makes VoIP zero cost. I don't know. I just made the observation that one day the copper local loop will cease to exist.
Frankly I just don't understand the purpose behind your post. You seem to be trying to pick a fight over something you imagine I wrote. I've no idea how people will use the local loop as it migrates from copper to fibre. I will say though that if people are 'expected' to use mobile it'll have to be improved. Brackley isn't the back-end of beyond and yet half the people I know can't get a mobile signal indoors. I get one bar in my entrance hall (all three square metres of it) and 'emergency calls only' everywhere else.
But if/when we have FTTP/H then it becomes moot. Data is data and if people want to make calls that get routed over a 'wired' connection then they will. I have no particular opinion on the matter either way.
You act as if the thieves are the worst part. The heavy jail sentences should go to the scrap dealers. People doing this sort of thing are generally addicts and nothing will deter them. Heavy sentencing for people making the profit would work allot better. (If there is no where to sell it then the addicts won't bother - the possibility of jail for wilfully doing this would work as its more likely that the scrap dealer's will act in a more reasoned manner (Jail sentence for a family man just making bit extra money on the side is much more likely to improve the end results - you cannot reason with an addict.)
If only it were so simple. Only a minority of premises within reach of FTTP actually want it. If someone has only a landline in their house - which fits the bill for plenty of older people or what have you - why would you spend hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds in ripping out something that already works and replacing it with something new that the user will still use for the same purpose? They'll not be spending enough on their landline to recoup the cost of migrating them to fibre so those charges will get lumped onto the bills of the people who do use it for super-whizzy Internet.
It's a tricky business. Companies have to borrow money to invest in this stuff, but banks and investors want a quick return and customers don't expect to pay any more for the fast access.
In the US Verizon have given up on their fibre roll-out and will re-sell cable company connections instead. Elsewhere, large scale roll-outs are at least partially government funded. Imagine what Apple would look like if they could only sell their shiny bits of wizardry for the same amount of money as the humdrum products they are competing against.
So what's your alternative? Individual continuous cables from the exchange all the way to your house? Do you think that would reduce the cost of line rental and phone calls? The access network is a tree topology - that's not a BT design decision, that's how telcos do access - it's the most efficient model.
How many customers do you think would be affected if someone stole a 500 pair cable belonging to France Telecom? Or a length of power cable supplying a Virgin cabinet? Or the coax feeder cable supplying the antennas at a cell site? Infrastructure is shared between users in the majority of the network. If you nick a bit, multiple users will be affected. It's possible to provide a second, resillient connection but that will always lead to a cost more than double that of the unprotected solution. Should every landline customer have their bills more than doubled, or should the people nicking the infrastructure be stopped from doing it?
I'm amazed that anyone would post such a strongly opinioned view on a topic about which they plainly have nothing even approaching a clue. I'm also amazed that a poster on The Register would have approximately zero knowledge of networking - how is it possible to work effectively in any IT role and not even have a grasp of the basics?
...it's only the title that implies that they are only after copper - and that might be an intentional bad pun by El Reg. Miserable though the consequences of copper theft are, stealing cast-iron manhole covers is tantamount to manslaugher. Although I noticed that some scumbag had stolen the lightning conductor strap to as high as they could reach from one of the Ikea Croydon chimneys. I wonder what will happen next time it's struck by lightning?
When it's easier to crackdown on the scrap metal buyers who help create the demand. There is a lot the government can do to clamp down on this. Make you voice heard by signing the e-petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/406. It won't stop all the thieves but it should stop the vast majority as it would kerb the quick buck type folks.
Insisting on payment into a bank, or by cheque...
Add to that a photograph of the person concerned and his pile of scrap, and a photograph of his vehicle registration, driving licence and the VIN tag of transit van too, just for good measure.
Then make the fine for handling stolen metal or failure to keep proper records somewhere in the bankruptcy region.
I worked for an energy company. Around one storage depot they had a huge wire fence etc. Thieves rammed a flat-bed truck through it, followed on with loaders, loading up the flat-bed and roared away into the night. Watchman on duty -- dunno if nobbled or made himself scarce. We are talking huge coils of copper.
If you can't track thieves, can you vet buyers? maybe in UK, but not off-shore.
It does make me wonder whether this was less of an issue when aluminium was more widely used in the critical infrastructure. I mean close-knit families of light fingered souls of no fixed abode are hardly a modern phenomenon.
Perhaps more aluminium is the solution where optical fibre isn't appropriate. I hear it's set make a big impact in the automotive industry in the coming years.
Aluminium is not a great replacement for copper. The GPO used it in the 70's when copper prices soared and government cut the available budgets. At a time of big growth in the telephone network the GPO had the choice of meeting most of the demand with aluminium or sticking with copper and only meeting less than half - at the long term cost of a greater maintenance load.
Aluminium isn't a great conductor, doesn't like being left outside for decades and doesn't like being bent. Capacitance, inductance, resistance - all are worse than copper. Its relatively poor electrical performance makes it poor for high-frequency signals (such as broadband).
If fibre's not appropriate due to terrain or distance, any other cabled solution will face the same challenges. In those cases a radio solution will almost certainly work better.
I wold rather they have metal detectors at train and tube stations to catch those with stolen copper than dogs trying to catch some poor sod with a joint down his sock. Oh wait, like large scale drug dealers, metal thieves likely don't use public transport to move their stolen/illegal goods.
Seriously though, regulation of scrap dealers, and tougher penalties might help a bit with this.
'cause Paris loves Bueller too!
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