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Internet service provider (ISP) BT is facing a major challenge as it attempts to ensure 100 per cent uptime for broadband customers in the UK.

Speaking to PC Pro, Bernie Auguste, Head of Security for BT Openreach, explained that the high price of copper is encouraging criminals to target broadband networks, with many now stealing metal to sell for scrap.

She said the fundamental problem for the ISP, which allows rival broadband providers to use its network on a wholesale basis, is the service disruption caused by cable theft.

Ms Auguste added: "The level of upheaval can depend on where it is stolen from, where in the network it is, and what equipment is damaged in the process of the theft, but the number of people affected might range from 50 to 2,000 in a typical case, and they might be without their supplies for anything up to four days."

Back in July, BT Openreach launched a major initiative to combat cable theft, announcing the deployment of SmartWater across copper telecoms infrastructure.

The invisible tagging solution means that police can trace individuals and any stolen cable or equipment back to the scene of a crime.

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