STATE-OWNED telecoms operator, TelOne, has stepped up efforts to curb increased network vandalism and copper cable thefts by installing security alarms on the copper cable infrastructure.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Of late, TelOne has been a victim of increased network vandalism and copper cable thefts.
Since January, at least 33 cases have been experienced, affecting hundreds of clients, according to TelOne communications and client experience head, Melody Harry.
In response to this, Harry said TelOne had stepped up efforts to curb these thefts and network vandalism by installing security alarms on the copper cable infrastructure, which silently triggers response in the event that someone tampers with the copper cables.
“This has resulted in increased arrests, with at least 60 criminals having been arrested since January 2018. The courts have handed down convictions of up to 10 years imprisonment on these arrests,” she said.
Furthermore, the company has increased physical security patrols in high-risk areas.
Harry said the company has also engaged in massive anti-vandalism campaigns through which they are engaging communities to educate them on the scourge and the consequences of getting involved either directly or indirectly.
“Through the campaigns, we appeal to the public to report any suspicious activities relating to telecommunications equipment thefts or trade, while offering exciting rewards for valuable information that leads to arrests of any such thieves,” she said.
TelOne has also partnered with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to step up patrols at the country’s borders to control the smuggling of copper stolen from the TelOne network.
“We also wish to state that, for the scourge to be effectively dealt with, a multi-stakeholder approach is required. We are, therefore, collaborating with the security forces and other parastatals who are victims of similar attacks on their infrastructure,” Harry said.
“We continue to call for the strengthening of the drive as the network attacks can affect national security, derail businesses and affect general communication among citizens over and above affecting the experience of our clients.”
Asked how the company had been affected revenue-wise, Harry said: “The biggest loss from vandalism is the impact on the TelOne reputation and the experience of our clients, as this may mean prolonged downtime for the clients. Through such downtime, our clients also tend to lose business as both voice and broadband is affected.”