Skip to content

Copper wire theft in Westlock County disrupts cellular service for Rogers customers

Weeks later, many still experiencing issues with cell service
Westlock RCMP are investigating an incident involving copper wire theft and vandalism from a Westlock County telecommunications site on June 16.

WESTLOCK — Dozens of Rogers cellular customers in Westlock are still waiting for their service to be fully restored, following an incident at a telecommunications site in mid-June. 

Westlock RCMP detachment commander Jeff Sehn confirmed they are investigating an incident from June 16, where suspects “took three to four feet of copper wire” from a site in Westlock County.

Rogers cellular customers in the Town of Westlock and Westlock County were affected and have reported experiencing limited service and disruptions and dropped calls.

In a statement last week via email, a Rogers Communications spokesperson noted the seriousness of the situation and said the company is working to fix the issue as soon as possible. 

“Telecommunication networks are part of Canada’s critical infrastructure. Across the industry, there has been a troubling rise in vandalism and attempted copper theft to network infrastructure, impacting service for Canadians,” read the statement. “Beyond being a significant inconvenience for our customers, these acts can have a serious impact on public safety. For our vandalized cellular site in Westlock, we have started the repair process, which requires obtaining specialized parts and equipment, and work is expected to be completed in the coming days.”

In providing additional details about the incident, Rogers Communications noted that “cable wires and fibre connecting the cell tower were cut by vandals in an attempt to steal copper wire and other materials. In the process, they also damaged other specialized equipment on the cell tower.”  

They also said as a result, some customers around the area “may be experiencing degraded wireless services intermittently, which can include slowness in data and some calls being unable to connect.” They said 9-1-1 calls are not impacted.

Other wireless network operators in the region including Bell Mobility and Telus, have confirmed their cellular services were not affected by the incident on June 16.

“The Bell 5G wireless network is deployed across partner tower infrastructure in Westlock, Alberta. We have not recorded any wireless network issues in the area for the month of June,” said Morgan Shipley senior manager, communications Bell MTS & Western Canada.

Telus had a similar reply. 

“There are no known issues affecting Telus cellular customers in Westlock,” noted TELUS senior communications manager, public relations, Chelsey Higdon.

Rogers Communications said they’ve seen a significant increase in outages due to vandalism since 2022, and support calls from across the industry, for the federal government to take action on vandalism and theft of telecommunications infrastructure. 


Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks