Sep 12, 2012, 11:21 AM
Abandoned Copper Telecom Lines
I have been researching but not finding much available about removing abandoned telephone lines from the ground. I have been a locator for years, and know where miles of copper lines have been abandoned due to upgrading to fiber optics. A 900 pair of telephone trunk lines weigh about 4 lbs per foot, thats alot of copper left in the ground. Harvesting is the difficult part, but finding specific laws covering ownership is difficult.
Does anyone know any specifics? I am getting access permits from the property owner, who maybe the actual owner because of the line abandonment.
Sep 12, 2012, 11:26 AM
thats a interesting question.
im not too sure myself, but i do know CSX has been walking the rails lately and cutting & bundling the abandoned copper wires they used to use many years ago.
Sep 12, 2012, 12:47 PM
That cable is on a utility easement, without permission you could end up with hefty fine or worse. Until it is removed by the phone company it is still their property, I also located cables and worked for major Telecom company for decades...
It is rare the give up or abandon utility easements as they may have use for it later on and bought it was sold for lifetime, homeowners lost all rights to it.
Last edited by Treasure_Hunter; Sep 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM.
Sep 28, 2012, 07:25 AM
Beware that a lot of copper telecom cable, including drop service wires are steel alloy, and, in some cases, aluminum.
Many of the scrap yards here will not accept telecom wire.
Treasure Hunter is right, property owners usually do not own up to the roadway easement.
Sep 29, 2012, 02:24 AM
Remove it and you've become a domestic terrorist regardless of whether it is abandoned or not. If caught, you are subject to federal prosecution under the Homeland Security Act and even if you aren't you'll be charged with a felony as the expense of replacing/repairing telco lines means there is no such thing as a misdemeanor copper theft from a telecom company.
Originally Posted by sshotwell
Copper theft is a major cost issue for all utilities and they'd love to make an example of you. Many of them offer sizable cash rewards to anyone turning in a copper thief and you better believe that anyone working at a scrapyards is aware of this.
Oct 01, 2012, 09:15 PM
And if you should happen to accidentally slice through a fiber optic line while digging, expect to pay for it for the rest of your life...
Originally Posted by Treasure_Hunter
Oct 01, 2012, 09:35 PM
Correct, I have worked on fiber cuts that ran in the millions of dollars, small cuts in the hundreds of thousands........ Companies I worked for both in the past and work for now all consider copper theft a major crime, anyone that was caught stealing it was proscuted to the fullest extent possible to deter other theives.....
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