Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CommScope Develops Copper-Alternative Grounding Wire to Deter Theft

CommScope introduced a copper-alternative grounding wire designed to deter copper theft and lower maintenance costs for telecoms and data applications.

CommScope said its GroundSmart Copper Clad Steel solution is designed for use in subsurface grounding grids, as well as inside and outside plant bonding applications. It is an electrical conductor that has copper metallurgically bonded to a solid steel core. The wire is capable of dispersing fault currents and lightning strikes. It also offers a lower total cost of ownership compared to pure copper. In addition, it can be jacketed with a polyethylene coating and printed to disguise and distinguish the wire from solid copper.

“Companies trying to protect their copper infrastructure have been going to extreme measures to deter theft, many of which are neither successful nor cost effective," said Doug Wells, vice president, Outside Plant Solutions, Broadband, CommScope. “Companies have increased security around their plants, going as far as laser etching their cables so they can be traced when they are stolen. Others have coated cables with a special liquid that leaves a stain detectable under ultraviolet light. Despite efforts like these, thieves continue to steal copper because of its rising value. The result is costly damage to networks and growing service disruptions.

  • BT's Openreach division has been deploying an invisible, "SmartWater" forensic ink in its cabling across the UK as a deterrence to metal thieves. Driven by the recent surge in scrap copper prices, metal theft is a growing problem.

    BT's Metal Theft Taskforce is using the SmartWater as a means to tag anyone tampering with its lines. SmartWater is a forensic marking liquid that is unique to a particular location. It will be used to mark the outer shell and inner core of Openreach cable, along with tools and other equipment. This will allow police to irrefutably identify where any stolen items have come from. Any thieves who target Openreach property face being sprayed with the liquid. The system is also interconnected with GPS.

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