Investigators are working on the theory that thieves stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fiber optic cables from a telecommunications services facility (TSTT) in San Fernando, mistaking them for copper.
However, this selfish act left thousands of people and businesses on TSTT networks without mobile, landline, internet and TV services for most of yesterday. It was an act that TSTT strongly condemned as deliberate and selfish and reminded the culprits that there would be legal implications if caught.
Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob was at the scene in Cross Crossing along with officers from the San Fernando Special Branch and Criminal Investigation Department.
Jacob said a team made up of officers from the Special Branch, Central Intelligence Bureau and San Fernando CID would conduct the investigation.
Jacob said there are already leads and the police department (TTPS) hopes to complete the investigation soon. He said the TTPS views the crime as a serious breach of the country’s communications infrastructure as it poses a security risk to the communications network. There has also been a severe disruption of services for all customers, especially those in the southwestern and southern communities.
“It appears to be malicious damage and theft, and based on discussions with TSTT technicians, the damage is approximately $1 million,” Jacob said.
The outage affected TSTT customers who tried to call family, relatives, friends and emergency services. The Electricity Commission (T&TEC) has activated additional emergency numbers for customers who had difficulty reaching its emergency numbers. T&TEC also advised customers to report issues via its Facebook page or the “Lights Out?” link on its website.
The TSTT crew at the site where the underground cable was vandalized caused widespread outages yesterday in San Fernando.
Copper cable theft has cost TSTT significantly over the past year, with thieves selling them to companies that export various scrap metals. This led Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to threaten to shut down the industry for a time as thieves continued to steal public property, severely hampering the functioning of several state services and putting lives at risk. danger. Despite the Scrap Iron Dealers Association’s warning and promises to eliminate exporters of stolen copper, the illegal trade continues. Reports and videos of rampant copper theft continue to go viral on social media platforms.
On Sunday, TSTT reported that a malicious act targeting underground cables overnight resulted in service outages. The company mobilized crews to restore service and by 4 p.m. had completed most of the work with services normalized to Siparia, La Brea, Penal, Point Fortin and others.
Preliminary investigations showed damage to a critical cable artery that serves customers in southern Trinidad. Customers in other parts of the country have also experienced reduced or interrupted service.
TSTT CEO Lisa Agard assured the public that the company had made every effort to restore service.
“To our loyal customers, our most sincere apologies for this inconvenience. We give you the assurance that our teams are working very hard to restore services as quickly as possible,” said Agard.
She explained that when the company got information about the outage, it dispatched transmission, cabling and splicing crews who isolated and repaired numerous fiber optic cables.
TSTT also deployed network and broadband engineers to rebuild a link to provide an alternate route between the affected area and the nearest interconnection point to normalize network traffic.