The popular business technology news site MyBroadband recently released an article stating the increase in sophistication of cable thieves in South Africa that has seen Telkom experience over 6,000 incidents of theft across its copper network in the last year. According to the article, criminals have been targeting Telkom manholes armed with heavy-duty vehicles that allow them to connect the cable to the vehicle and drive out kilometres of it, cutting of thousands of customers in a single incident.
During the 2015 financial year, Telkom experienced more than R200 million in loss due to cable theft repairs and security services aimed at reducing the incidences of cable theft throughout South Africa. In many of the high-theft areas, cable is often repeatedly stolen only days after being replaced or repairs which sees large amounts of businesses in these areas without connectivity and voice communication for days or sometimes weeks at a time.
In an attempt to fight cable theft, Telkom has begun to migrate customers in the high-theft areas onto a wireless service know as Waya Waya or fibre technologies that do not rely on the copper network. In some instances, Telkom has run a fibre trial where DSL customers are offered an upgrade from their copper-based services to fibre for free. Telkom has migrated almost 4,000 customers to alternative forms of connectivity.