Well, maybe not as valuable as gold, but still well worth the effort.
Quite a while back, I remember reading about how rural areas were having their old copper wiring replaced with fiber at a much faster rate than urban areas. The reason was because the value of the "salvaged" copper was enough to justify theives cutting down the cables and selling it as scrap -- scrap copper currently fetches in the vicinity of US$0.80/pound. And copper cabling is heavy. (OTOH, fiber-optical cables are very light and nearly worthless -- essentially very fine strands of glass. It's the fiber switching and boosting equipment that is valuable, but that is much easier to secure than cables.)
IIRC, the reason rural areas were the favorite targets is the inherent lack of civilization: on some roads, one car every hour is considered heavy traffic, and there are usually no buildings within sight. Contrast this with urban areas, where there are constantly people around -- and thus much harder to steal the copper wiring.
Of course, this was in the early '90s, way before the explosion of broadband. I imagine that most companies have shifted away from re-cabling rural areas (low ROI) to concentrate on urban centers where more profits are to be found. I'd also imagine that the theives have become more brazen in their heists...
Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
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