With the rising number of incidents, internet service providers (ISP) are raising the alarm about intentional cable cutting and theft and stepping up on their crackdown against the perpetrators. Cuts and damages to copper and fiber optic cables not only increase the operation and maintenance cost of these ISPs but also negatively affect the daily routine of regular citizens.
Work-at-home employees and freelance workers comprise a significant percentage of the Philippine workforce, according to the Decoding Global Ways of Working report in 2021. That said, one can imagine the amount of productivity lost when there is a major Internet service outage due to a cable cut.
As local telcos continue to suffer from damages to their network equipment, telecommuters need to be prepared for emergencies.
Schools are slowly reopening after a long shutdown because of COVID-19, but many students still take distance education and therefore depend on a solid internet connection for online classes and resources.
Students and teachers already face several challenges during distance learning. These include technical issues and poor internet services caused by a variety of factors, such as the weather, connectivity gaps in rural areas, and inadequate infrastructure in schools. Intentional cable cutting incidents will only exacerbate the problem.
No TV reception
In the case of Sky Cable, cut cable wires prevent the local ISP from providing not just Internet services but also television services to customers. Sky is actively working with partner companies and the authorities to thwart cable thieves through Oplan Kontra Putol.
To this day, television remains a major source of entertainment and a dominant part of the Philippine culture. To some Filipinos, the television is even their only source of the latest news and information, hence why consumers must not be robbed of access to it.
Injuries and Property Damage
Haphazard cable cutting can lead to physical injuries and damage to homes too. In other countries, cable thieves have been shot for trespassing or died from electrocution. Earlier this year, severed electrical cables were believed to have caused a spark that led to three houses in the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago to catch fire.
How many are affected?
Depending on where the cable is cut, the damage could affect a huge area. Last month, Sky Cable’s head of network operations Robert Joseph Licup said that on certain days they would deal with five to six incidents in which thousands of subscribers (as high as 80,000) are cut off from service.
Back in 2011, a woman in Georgia accidentally sliced an underground cable and caused a service outage for the entire neighbor country Armenia. Over 3.2 million Armenians temporarily lost access to the Internet for five hours.
How to report cable cutting to service providers
Local ISPs are asking the public to participate in the campaign to stop intentional cable cutting. Some of these ISPs have dedicated forms and email addresses where affected customers can report incidents:
- Converge ICT – Tech Support
- Globe – Bantay Kable and Quick Response Team
- PLDT – Complaint Form
- Sky Cable – Oplan Kontra Putol