Theft of Service
Cable theft is the illegal interception of cable programming services without the express authorization of, or payment to, a cable company. Cable operators take theft of services seriously, not only because thieves are taking services that they should be paying for, but because individuals who steal services affect legitimate paying subscribers who expect and appreciate the quality products and services that Cable provides. The quality of the picture and internet speeds, as well as your neighbors', can be affected when an individual makes an unauthorized connection to a cable line. Signal leakage can affect aviation radio equipment as well as emergency service radio communications.
Cable operators audit parts of their system each day to detect cable theft and signal leakage caused by unauthorized connections. Poor system performance requires increased customer service calls. Those maintenance calls place a burden on the system to deliver a great product and put pressures on cable rates for our subscribers.
The Virginia cable industry has spent more than $ 3 billion in the last decade to upgrade its infrastructure so that customers can receive high quality services such as digital TV, video on demand, high-speed internet and telephone service. When people steal services without paying for them, costs associated with running an operation trickle down to subscribers.
Cable signs franchise agreements with localities to operate in their area. Fees associated with that franchise go directly to the local community and can be used for parks, schools or additional police or firemen. When people steal cable services, no fees are paid on those services.
Cable theft is illegal under federal law and state law. Federal statutes provide for stiff penalties against people who steal cable services, including possible criminal prosecution. In addition, federal law provides cable companies with civil remedies, such as the opportunity to sue people who steal cable services for monetary damages and injunctive relief.