Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) has outlined plans to go 'copper free' in parts of the country next year.

According to a report by local publication Mmegi, the telco is aiming to combat the issue of copper theft in the country.

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The telco plans to eliminate copper from its networks in Gaborone, Orapa, and Jwaneng by the end of the next financial year, in March 2024.

Mmegi reports that BTC will instead focus on deploying fiber infrastructure.

BTC's stance on reducing its copper network is largely due to its financial performance taking a hit off the back of copper theft.

The telco said it saw a 23 percent drop in pre-tax profit for the 2022/23 financial year, which it blamed partly on the costs of replacing stolen copper cable, which totaled around $4 million.

Copper theft isn't uncommon, and is an issue worldwide, as the cost of copper has risen in the last few years.

Last month in the UK, cable thieves left an Oxfordshire village without Internet connectivity for almost two weeks after criminals stole more than 500 meters of underground copper cable from Openreach’s local network.

BT subsidiary Openreach has been targeted by vandals in the past, with the company hit by similar attacks in Kent, Shenley, and Yorkshire last year.

A man in Ghana was sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing telecom cables earlier this year.