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Peri talk at New England Chapter meeting has burning message

It was a familiar message for Frank Peri, who since becoming executive director of the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) in 2007 has made countless presentations, most notably on the dangers of counterfeit cables, but the short video he showed of such cable burning wildly in a test left the wire and cable industry audience smoldering.

Speaking at the New England Chapter event at the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, Massachusetts, Peri explained that this is a frustrating story for legitimate cable makers as there is no simple way to prevent the incoming flow of counterfeit cable. It is lucrative to sell cheap cable fraudulently marked as UL- or ETL-listed CMP plenum cable, and the internet has made it easier than ever for such cable to be ordered. He observed that the CCCA's most recent cable tests (its fourth) found that the six different cables tested overwhelmingly showed that such cables continue to pose serious safety risks.

At the same time, Peri said, there is progress on various levels, and CCCA, whose members include many key cable manufacturers, is supporting a range of such efforts. "Our mission statement is long, but I can sum it up in just one word: education," he said. CCCA has worked closely with UL, which in addition to use of holographic labels, has stepped up efforts in China to stem the flow of counterfeit wire and cable products. CCCA's new CableCheck app, developed to confirm a cable's legitimacy at a work site, links directly to the UL file number database. There has also been more interaction with authorities in China, where several cable counterfeiters actually received prison sentences. CCCA also presented its findings at a recent well-attended UL trade event/conference in China.

Part of the problem, Peri declared, is that many customers do not know what they are buying. "It's not like buying a Rolex on the street, where you know that you are not getting the real thing," he said. "I'm often asked why we don't list the names of the bad guys. ... If I did, it wouldn't do any good," he explained, noting that company names are easy to change and lack of being on such a list does not mean that a company is trustworthy. It is far more helpful to provide a list "of the good guys," he said, noting that includes not just CCCA members but many other companies whose products can be verified. As ever, he insisted, if a price sounds way too good, the cable almost surely is not what it claims to be.

Peri added that CCCA has focused on UTP cable, but other value-added cables are also being counterfeited.

WAI Chapter President Kevin Buchanan thanked Peri for the presentation as well as Dave Fisher and Laurie Parent, who helped arrange for his appearance. He also thanked the event sponsors: Gold: DuPont, Gem Gravure and Quirk Wire Co.; Silver: Carris Reels, Delaware Marketing Services, Fluoropolymer Resources, Inc., Lloyd & Bouvier, Mossberg Associates, MultiCable Corporation and Specialty Cable Corporation; and Bronze: Breen Color Concentrates, Inc., QS Technologies Inc. and James Monroe Wire & Cable Corporation.

Buchanan also encouraged everyone to attend the chapter's Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, at the Mohegan Sun Resort.

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