The ongoing volatility of copper pricing has created a major concern for the telecommunications industry, in which telecoms operators traditionally use copper ground wire for network grounding and bonding. Rising copper prices negatively impact operating costs by increasing the price of wire and maintenance costs, as copper wire becomes an attractive target for thieves intent on stealing it for sale to recyclers, particularly in emerging markets.
To help the industry battle these issues, CommScope, Inc. has developed a copper-alternative grounding wire designed to deter copper theft and lower maintenance costs for telecoms and data applications. The GroundSmart Copper Clad Steel solution has been designed for use in subsurface grounding grids, as well as inside and outside plant bonding applications. As copper theft continues to grow as a global problem and copper raw material costs increase, the use of Copper Clad Steel alternatives have gained acceptance in more and more applications.
“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.”
GroundSmart Copper Clad Steel is specifically designed to disperse fault currents and lightning strikes at a lower total cost of ownership compared to pure copper. It is an electrical conductor that has copper metallurgically bonded to a solid steel core. This solution also makes it less susceptible to theft by increasing the resistance to cutting and drastically decreasing the scrap value.