Home » AT&T »Competition »Consumer News »Public Policy & Gov't »Video » Currently Reading:

Groups Sue AT&T Over San Francisco U-verse Cabinets: Environmental Review Demanded

Phillip Dampier August 25, 2011 AT&T, Competition, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Video 1 Comment

Some proponents for AT&T U-verse suggest people will quickly get used to AT&T's metal cabinets.

A coalition of neighborhoods opposed to the installation of more than 700 4-foot tall metal cabinets across the city of San Francisco have filed suit against AT&T in Superior Court demanding the city follow its own environmental codes and conduct an environmental impact assessment.

The suit comes in response to last month’s close 6-5 vote by the Board of Supervisors permitting AT&T to install up to 726 boxes on the public-right-of-way — typically street corners and sidewalks — to support expansion of its U-verse television, broadband, and phone service.

San Francisco Beautiful, San Francisco Tomorrow, the Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association, the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association, and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association are all parties to the lawsuit filed Wednesday, which calls the boxes graffiti targets, a safety problem for traffic and pedestrians, and just plain ugly.

Milo Hanke, past president of San Francisco Beautiful, accuses the city of ignoring its own rules to give a green light to AT&T.

“We really don’t want to sue, but we are left with no choice when the city refuses to uphold its own environment codes and is about to give away our sidewalks for the benefit of a private company without objective review,” Hanke told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Long time observers of city politics are frankly surprised AT&T won permission for the controversial boxes.

“It wasn’t that long ago that something like this would have been stopped dead in its tracks in [one] environmental review [after another],” said KCBS-TV reporter Phil Matier.  “But this year, whether it’s a change in the tone for business or for jobs it actually got the six votes needed, and that is going to be interesting as this plays out in an election year in San Francisco.”

Lane Kasselman, an AT&T spokesman countered: “This is about choice and competition for San Francisco residents. It’s about new, better technology that enhances peoples’ lives. AT&T thanks the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for supporting the deployment of U-verse throughout San Francisco. We’ve already started construction and are working as quickly as possible to bring next generation IP network services to every block and household that wants it.”

But Hanke thinks the city has gone too far for the benefit of AT&T at the expense of local residents.

“This is a private enterprise with a benefit to private parties,” Hanke told KCBS.  “Why should the public be subsidizing a Dallas-based corporation, and having to look at these ugly boxes in the process.”

Sean Elsbernd, who serves on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors personally thinks the boxes are a great idea, suggesting Comcast needs competition.

“I have a suspicion that four or five months after they are in, people aren’t going to notice them anymore,” Elsebernd said.

[flv width=”640″ height=”380″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/KCBS San Francisco Groups Sue ATT 8-24-11.mp4[/flv]

KCBS in San Francisco covers the continuing controversy over AT&T’s 4-foot tall utility boxes and the lawsuit designed to stop or delay their installation.  (3 minutes)

[flv]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/KBAK Bakersfield Homeowner fights utility project in her front yard 5-27-10.flv[/flv]

KBAK in Bakersfield shows what happened when AT&T brought their lawn refrigerator-sized boxes to that city in the spring of 2010 — one woman woke up and found AT&T crews tearing up her yard, without any notice, as part of a major construction project.  (3 minutes)

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. Smith6612 says:

    There is one answer to those huge boxes; run Fiber! Smaller boxes (see FiOS), CO and customer equipment only, and no worries once put in. I don’t think I’ve seen a single person complain about having to have an ONT installed in their home or complain about a small 2×1 pole-mounted cabinet installed every several blocks.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Doug Stoffa: Digital takes up way less space than old analog feeds - agreed. In a given 6 MHz block, the cable company can send down 1 NTSC analog station, 2-4 HD...
  • Phillip Dampier: Digital video TV channels occupy next to nothing as far as bandwidth goes. Just look at the huge number of premium international channels loading up o...
  • Doug Stoffa: It's a bit more complicated than that. Television stations (and the networks that provide them programming) have increased their retransmission fees ...
  • Alex sandro: Most of the companies offer their services with contracts but Spectrum cable company offer contract free offers for initial year which is a very good ...
  • John: I live in of the effected counties, believe it or not our village is twenty three miles from WSKG Tower, approxiamately eighty miles from Syracuse, WS...
  • Wilhelm: I'm in the Finger Lakes where Spectrum removed WROC-8 last Fall, but we still get other Rochester channels, WHAM-13, WHEC-10 and WXXI-21. I have to wo...
  • dhkjsalhf: "Another classic case of businesses being much smarter than governments." I don't know whether this was sarcastic or not, but I feel it's a sentiment...
  • New Yorker: It makes no sense. I wonder sometimes if raising the limits on how much money rich people giving to candidates could make it more expensive to buy of...
  • New Yorker: Will New York go through with the threat? As an upstater I have seen infrastructure projects drag on in cost and time (eg. 1.5 yrs to repair a tiny b...
  • Matthew H Mosher: Another classic case of businesses being much smarter than governments....
  • Matthew H Mosher: Doesn't matter. Rural NY will remain left behind....
  • Dylan: Hopefully this does not happen as I would like to see Charter continue with its current plans of upgrades in NY, like the 200mbps upgrade. Maybe Chart...

Your Account: