Cable theft, vandalism and load shedding: What’s affecting your internet connectivity?

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Acts of cable theft and vandalism are committed within our neighbourhoods and communities,  sometimes by people we know. Cable theft not only disrupts the supply of electricity and internet connectivity in households, but it also has a significant effect on the economy. 

Criminals steal infrastructure such as copper cables and electrical equipment to make easy money and with each incident, thousands of homes are left without electricity for many hours or days. Businesses that have no access to generators have to close and unfortunately lose money as they cannot operate during that period. 

Many small businesses have become heavily reliant on the internet to be able to conduct their business operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so a disruption to internet connectivity due to cable theft and vandalism places such businesses at a disadvantage. 

“Copper line theft has a significant impact on connectivity, and it costs the telecommunications sector millions of rands every year. Data gathered by Openserve shows that more than 800 areas across SA have been identified as hotspot areas for cable theft and vandalism, where thousands of copper DSL customers are heavily affected. Copper line theft and damage has cost Openserve more than R60-million over the past year,” said Openserve Chief Executive Officer Althon Beukes.

Cable thefts cause many parts of the economy to come to a standstill and it is expensive to replace such infrastructure. The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) estimates that cable theft costs the SA economy between R5-billion and R7-billion a year. As cable theft results in power outages, this affects traffic lights, causing more congestion on the roads, and disrupting street lights, telephone lines, and networks. 

If cable theft or vandalism occurs in your neighbourhood, you are now more likely to feel its effects than before as many of us work from home and need reliable power and internet connection.

We all have the responsibility to report any acts of cable theft or vandalism.  You can report cable theft and vandalism by contacting Telkom’s crime hotline on 0800 124 000.

Load shedding

As load shedding occurs due to generation capacity, this means that you will often experience scheduled power cuts and your internet connection will be interrupted. Getting reconnected to your internet may be delayed once electricity returns, as your device has to reconnect to the fibre network. 

Much like cable theft, load shedding has a significant effect on the domestic economy as it disrupts business activity.

Unfortunately, load shedding is a necessary process in order to meet the current electricity demand. As a result, you must check your load shedding schedule and plan. This includes charging your devices, meal planning and purchasing battery-powered lights.  

As citizens, we need to play our part in easing the pressure on the power supply. Here are a few things that you can do to minimise the impact of load shedding:

  • Switch off appliances that you are not using.
  • Use a pressure cooker when preparing meals that take longer to cook.
  • Switch off the lights in unoccupied rooms.
  • Switch off your electric geyser when you are away on vacation, etcetera. 
  • Fill your dishwasher when you are using it in order to avoid multiple loads. 

To learn more, visit Openserve

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