Telecommunication cable theft, damage a criminal offence

The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) highlighted the recent telecommunications service outage that affected 100,000 voice and mobile subscribers nationwide.

Investigations by Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) revealed that the outage was caused by the theft of copper cables which caused damage to the surrounding fibre cables.

The damage to the cables can have a major impact on economic and social activities such as disruption of business and educational services.

AITI stated that it is important to emphasise that UNN puts in substantial effort and cost in restoration of cables and services to minimise interruption of telecommunications services.

AITI reminded the public that any individual who wilfully removes, destroys or damages installation or plant used for telecommunications is guilty of an offence under Section 49(1) of the Telecommunications Order, 2001, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding BND50,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

Additionally, under Section 49(2), any person who, in the course of carrying out any earthworks, damages any cable of a telecommunication system belonging to or under the management or control of a telecommunication system licensee shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding BND1 million, imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.

As stated under Section 50 of the Telecommunications Order, 2001, any person who removes, destroys or damages, whether wilfully, negligently, accidentally or otherwise, the installation or plant used for telecommunications is liable to pay compensation for the damage he has done.

AITI appealed for public cooperation in informing the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) at 993 if suspicious persons and activities are detected in the vicinity of installed cables.