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The Frontier Communications copper harvest

February 11, 2012

I  describe Frontier Communications losses as “Copper Harvesting”  versus  theft because it’s a much more apt description.   Apparently Frontier Communications’ cables are ripe for the picking.   For the last three months the BulldogPI has  recieved constant  security alerts and news links discussing Frontier’s losses. 

http://booneexaminer.com/copper-theft-disconnects-alum-creek-frontier-customers-p2357-1.htm

http://bdtonline.com/local/x1669707709/AFTERNOON-UPDATE-Frontier-seeks-information-concerning-rash-of-copper-cable-thefts-in-McDowell

Above is merely a small sample, I could provide literally DOZENS of examples (if not over a hundred) from the past six months.  A few quotes in particular have really grabbed my attention.

http://www.emsworld.com/news/10621607/copper-thieves-leave-wva-town-without-911

The area has already been hit six times this month with copper cable thefts impacting telephone and Internet service for about 3,000 families, Zach Tomblin, a spokesman for Frontier, said. The two communities have spotty to non-existent cell phone service — meaning if someone had a medical or police emergency they would have no way of calling 911 when their landline service is down due to a copper theft.”

The same area, six times, one month….  Gee, maybe there’s a problem?

Finally I decided to send  an email to  the name continuously mentioned as  Frontier Communication’s security ‘go to’ person:  Brian Stowe.  In the email, I made a few suggestions on how to improve the situation.  One of my ideas is  the deployment of  a quick response  investigation unit during a service disruption.  That seems like a better idea then showing up a day or two later and looking up at poles where the cables used to be.   “Yep… them there durn copper thieves took some more of our cables Tommy.”

  Mr. Stowe’s politely worded response summarized:

 “I have many years of law enforcement experience…”

“We appreciate your concern but are not hiring private investigators at this time….”

“It appears that you have many comments on many different aspects of our cases, which I can probably only guess you are attempting to solicit business.”

 The implied message: “We are dealing with the problem…  thanks, but no thanks.”

Oh.  Really?

Some recent copper theft alerts where Frontier was apparently victimized:

1/8/2012    Matewan, WV  700′ of aerial telephone cable

1/10/2012   IAEGER, WV  350′ of aerial telephone cable

1/13/2012   Bradshaw, WV 1000′ of aerial telephone cable

1/18/2012   Bradshaw, WV  800′ of aerial telephone cable

1/20/2012   Mohawk, WV  400′ of aerial telephone cable

1/20/2012   Bradshaw, WV  350′ of aerial telephone cable

2/5/2012     Iaeger, WV  Theft of 5 separate sections of aerial telephone cable

                 (each being 300 feet in length)    The thieves worked O/T that day… 

2/9/2012    HANOVER, WV  900′ of aerial telephone cable

I remain equally impressed with AEP’s “proactive” investigative efforts

1/13/2012   Cabin Creek WV  Theft of approximately 2,800′

Yep, looks to me like a lot of headway is being made in addressing the problem.   I’m sure that between installation costs, and the cables themselves we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars of losses…  this year alone.

Bulldog’s question for  Frontier Customers:   Who ultimately pays for the thefts? 

YOU DO.

  The costs of replacement cable and installation obviously impact fees charged Frontier’s customers. 

Meanwhile  another large corporate conglomerate whines about a problem, pleas for assistance from the public, and expects law enforcement to dedicate extensive, already streched thin resources to addressing their issue. 

How realistic.  How proactive.   How typical.

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/opinions/x1702138478/Dennis-Bloss-Fighting-copper-theft-requires-commitment-from-many-quarters

“Rather than focus on the financial motives of the criminals who are creating these problems, I want to focus on how Frontier is approaching copper theft in West Virginia….    That is why Frontier has established a toll-free information hotline — 800-590-6605 — to accept calls from citizens who have information about copper theft. ”

Uh huh.  Riiigggghhhttt……..

No mention of a reward, no discussion of an investigative unit….    Let’s expect limited rural area law enforcement and anonymous ‘good neighbor’ tips  to take care of everything.

All aboard, the Namby Pamby express!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avk1LTnIrXI&feature=related

If I was a Frontier Communications customer, I might ask a few questions the next time my bill went up…

-BulldogPI

5 Comments
  1. Melissa permalink

    It’s too bad they won’t hire you. As a shareholder of Frontier, it seems to me like it would be a good investment for the company. (Unfortunately they didn’t ask my opinion, though.)

    The thing I wonder about this copper theft deal is how the heck the thieves can sell it. If some meth head with a backwards baseball cap shows up at a scrap metal yard with a pickup truck full of copper telephone wire, they just go ahead and fork over the cash? But doesn’t that expose the scrap metal yard to potential criminal liability?

    • Unfortunately alot of scrap yards are not run or staffed by the most ethical of persons. I suspect that they are buying the stolen copper at a discount rate, because if they don’t know whether the copper in question is stolen, they still know it’s suspect. Frontier Communications, along with AEP, appear to seek out media attention and publicize the problem, but refuse to do anything actually effective. They don’t like me because I tell it as it is? Fine… but then actually develop an investigative wing and develop some logical ways to tackle the problem. Don’t just continue droning on the same old song in press releases and plea for help from observant good citizens.

    • I’m probably not making brownie points over there, but it’s getting really ridiculous. If they had their own fast response team things would at least improve….

  2. Another day, another 5k of wire stolen. If this continues parts of West Virginia will need EPA cancer risk evaluations from the sheer amount of smoldering insulation….
    —————————————————————————

    Theft of 500′ of 100 Pair 22 Gauge Aerial Telephone Cable

    Date of Occurrence: 2/15/2012
    Location: Branchland, WV 25506 US
    Material: Copper/Brass
    Details: 2 sets of cable were stolen, each cable is identified as 250′ of 100 pair/22 gauge copper. Total length is 500′. This length and amount of cable would yield about 200-250 lbs of copper. Sheathing could be burnt or melted off.
    Reported Value: $4300.00
    Law Enforcement Contact: Agency: Frontier Communications
    Phone: 304-344-7253
    Contact Name: Bryan C. Stover
    Contact Email: bryan.stover@ftr.com

  3. joe permalink

    frontiers thieves are operating rite under there nose an in house employee is setting things up then has his father in law a nd is wife come in and cut cable and remove from locations this was brought to the attention of frontier bosses @ jonathan p of his employee doing this m.thomp.wake upfrontier your wv operation is corrupt

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