Theft and Damage of Telecommunication Cables is a Criminal Offence

The recent telecommunications service outage that affected about 100,000 subscribers nationwide was caused by the theft of copper cables which caused damage to the surrounding fibre cables. The matter was highlighted by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) in its media release after investigations conducted by Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd, UNN.

Damage to telecommunication cables can impact heavily on economic and social activities such as disruption of business and educational services. Also emphasised is the UNN puts in a lot of effort and cost in restoration of the cables and services to minimise interruption of telecommunications services. The AITI reminds the public that any person who wilfully removes, destroys or damages any installation or plant used for telecommunications shall be guilty of an offence under section 49(1) of the Telecommunications Order, 2001, and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding B$50,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.

It is an offence under Section 49(2) when any person who, in the course of carrying out any earthworks, damages or caused to be damaged any cable of a telecommunication system belonging to or under the management or control of a telecommunication system licensee. If convicted, the person shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $1 million, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both. Additionally, as stated under section 50 of the Telecommunications Order, 2001, any person who removes, destroys or damages, whether wilfully, negligently, accidentally or otherwise, the installation or plant used for telecommunications shall be liable to pay compensation for the damage done.

Source: Radio Television Brunei

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