Unified National Networks (UNN) yesterday detected an outage that affected both mobile voice and data services across the nation, affecting more than 100,000 subscribers. The teams that UNN deployed swiftly upon its detection found out that it was caused by fibre cut.
Further investigations whilst repairing the damage led to the root cause of the fibre cut which originated from cable theft gone awry, when the culprit(s) wanted to obtain copper from the telecommunication cables around Telanai area and pulled the cable with such force that the fibre was damaged.
Although UNN team eventually restored the services, the consequences of the outage on mobile subscribers was irreparable as the incident has severed the functions of public sectors such as businesses and educational institutions that require Internet or voice services to operate.
UNN aims to raise public awareness to the increasing cable theft affecting the nation, with more than 120 thefts or cable cuts since mid of last year.
Part of the current telecommunication infrastructure includes the use of two types of cables – copper cables and optic fibre cables to facilitate seamless connectivity in its surrounding areas. When the Internet connectivity is unstable or stopped, the most common cause of such disruption is cable tempering or cable theft.
Cable tempering or theft is thought to be done by culprits who see this as making quick money but what is not made aware is the big impact cable theft can have on home, educational institutions, and businesses. It is also very dangerous and life-threatening to steal electrically charged cables that could lead to disfigurement, lost of limbs, and even death.
While UNN is responsible to replace or repair the national telecommunication infrastructure and its national assets such as copper or fibre cables effectively and efficiently, such resolve takes a lot of time, effort and monetary means that usually outweighs the actions and gains from such tempering or theft.
If disruption is not solved in a timely manner, the impact could escalate to sever the functions of all sectors within the ecosystem that require telecommunication services to operate. The longer the delay, the more the loss of income or revenue these businesses will have to endure as they would be unable to conduct sales, business transactions, logistic, etc, while students will miss their online lessons or unable to conduct their important research or tests, which could lead to falling back in their classes or courses.
Culprits responsible for cable tempering or cable theft may not be aware that copper cables do not fetch a lot of money or know how to differentiate between copper cables and fibre cables, which are of no value.
Culprits, if caught tempering or stealing national asset such as copper cables, can be charged under section 379 of the Penal Code Chapter 22 whereby if found guilty will face imprisonment of not more than three years or fine or both. For the violation under Section 427 of damaging national properties, if found guilty, the person responsible will face imprisonment of not more than five years and whipping.
UNN urges that every individual plays a part in understanding the impact of cable tempering or theft goes beyond UNN interest but towards the communities who rely on such connectivity to operate. And, by reporting suspicious activities or criminal activities through 993 or to the nearest police station as part of being a responsible citizen.