Telcos, cable TV operators unite amid rising cases of illegal cable-cutting

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2022 09:31 PM

MANILA - Telecommunications and cable TV companies have banded together for an industry-wide effort against illegal cable-cutting dubbed "Oplan Kontra Putol."

The number of cases of cable theft has been on the rise this year resulting in the sudden loss of internet connection in many areas, telcos and cable TV operators said on Wednesday.

In Sta. Cruz, Manila, several homes lost internet connection last week, which was traced to the illegal cutting of cable wires in the area. 

The copper inside the cable is usually the main target of thieves who would sell it to a junk shop.

Industry representatives said the campaign against illegal cable-cutting aims to raise awareness as well as call for better coordination with local government units. They also plan to strengthen patrolling and monitoring areas usually targeted by cable theft.

"Partnership of local government and communities is very important in order to persecute perpetrators of illegal cutting," said Venancio Lo, President of the Philippine Cable Television Association.

"It should be a concerted effort of all stakeholders to address this illegal cutting," he added. 

Robert Joseph Licup, Head of Network Operations of Sky Cable, said a single cable theft case can affect thousands of subscribers.

"Minsan sa isang araw meron kami 5, 6 na incidents affecting nga mga 40,000 to 50,000 or even as high as 80,000 subscribers," Licup said.

Alfredo Solis Jr, VP and Head for Business Development of Radius Telecom said internet connection is now a utility service just like water and electricity. 

"Once it is cut especially during this time when you're doing this kind of virtual meeting, it really affects the service," Solis said.

Telco giants Globe and Smart have also joined the campaign against illegal cable cutting. This, they say, deprives customers of seamless connectivity and it also burdens a lot of businesses.

The groups also called on the public to report incidents of cable theft in their area.