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Conservationists battle BT over fibre broadband cabinets in Brighton
Friday 02 July 2010 17:14:46 by John Hunt

BT have received objections to the siting of various road-side boxes to be installed by Openreach to deliver fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband services in the Brighton and Hove area. Conservation groups have objected to the location of where some of these green boxes are to be located, and this is not the first time that Openreach have come across this problem. In both Muswell Hill and St Albans conservation groups stepped in to request better locations be found for the green boxes that BT were proposing.

Some cabinets in Brighton and Hove have already been approved whilst a large number are still in the planning process. The full list can be found at theargus.co.uk. The objections are not a dismissal that the new technology needs to be installed, but instead are a proposal that better locations be found. The green boxes to be installed are similar to existing street side cabinets but are taller and wider than existing units, with some models being 1.6m tall.

"There is no doubt we have to move with the times and that we need super-fast broadband, especially in a vibrant city like Brighton.

Having said that, I'm not convinced the solution put forward by BT is the right and proper one. We are not saying no – we just want to be consulted."

Stephen Neiman, The Regency Society

Thankfully, BT are responsive on these kinds of issues, even though they deem the equipment being installed as "essential".

"We do fully appreciate the concerns of the conservation and amenities committees regarding the siting of our super-fast broadband cabinets in certain parts of the city.

We are committed to working with local authorities to minimise the visual impact of the new street cabinets, and have done this successfully in other conservation areas."

BT Spokeswoman

Hopefully this won't produce any delays to the roll-out of fibre in Brighton which is expected to go live in December 2010.

Update - 07/06/2010
A map showing the locations of the cabinets in question can be found here.

Comments

Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
Sod Brighton in that case, a lot of the population may quite enjoy it anyway, move on to the next areas.
Posted by wigan over 4 years ago
This is the problem in Britain and why we lag everyone, BT should stick to their planned sites or just miss the area out altogether
Posted by cyberdoyle over 4 years ago
don'tcha just love the nimbys? anyway it isn't superfast its only fttc. Does anyone on here know if these cabinets can be reused for ftth? ie are they going to be a permanent fixture?
Posted by YaZiN over 4 years ago
Publish the names of those who are fighting the planning applications so that there neighbours can let them know what they think about them holding back on FTTC rollout.
Posted by Decision over 4 years ago
Paint them pink, i'm sure they would agree to that :)














Posted by tazz_uk over 4 years ago
LOL at above comment... Sod em move on they can wait till everywhere else is done now.
Posted by Decision over 4 years ago
Sorry about the large empty space, not sure why it happened
Posted by JohnUK over 4 years ago
Imagine this sort of palava/hassle/bureaucracy for the tens of thousands of each FTTC 6foot high cabinet (side note: are they getting barriers to stop damage from cars etc?) Any Council with any sense should a) be working with BT b) pre designating preferred locations for them c) talking to local residents
It's not bloody hard.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
Well said JohnUK, this isnt the first time BT want to ignore residents or councils with regards to where cabinets go though, no doubt in their typical ignorant manner it wont be the last.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Are they following normally planning process? If so how are they ignoring anyone. They plan, they receive feedback, they work with. Normal planning process doesn't entail knocking on doors and seeking permission. BT didn't write the planning process.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
These cabinets are only a transitional solution anyway and will soon become obsolete because of future FTTP and the needs for higher broadband speeds. So no longterm harm is done by rejecting these bulky cabinets.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
quote"Are they following normally planning process? If so how are they ignoring anyone. They plan, they receive feedback, they work with. Normal planning process doesn't entail knocking on doors and seeking permission. BT didn't write the planning process."

From prior discussion some claim BT dont need planning permission. However if they do or are applying for it as a matter of course anyway, it is off course open to the council and residents to make objections.
Posted by kamelion over 4 years ago
it isn't like they are hugely ugly. f you don't want a big green box cover it with flowers or something
Posted by Foggy_UK over 4 years ago
I liked the comment in the Argus "The cabinets are larger than existing telephone exchanges" Guess the NIMBY's have never seen the exchange building Hove.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
JN - apart from there being no reason for higher speeds beyond 100M for the vast majority of users (where would you store the data?) these cabinets are essential for improving the broadband service.

So you plan is to forget FTTC and wait 10 years for FTTP funding?
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
Good for them. As always it's heart warming to see that there are still people around who care for their environment. It might be urban but it doesn't have to be ugly :)

I would like to add however that I think it unlikely anyone on my estate in Brackley would object so if there are delays feel free to send a few cabs to SMBY :)
Posted by timmay over 4 years ago
Solution ... Old PO in Canterbury is for sale right next door to the exchange. Now if only I had a few bob!
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
planning permission is not required for plant below 15m in height, except in conservation areas.

The linked new item at the paper is titled "Objections to broadband boxes in Brighton and Hove conservation areas"
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
^^^ Thanks for that info herdwick, that clears things up :) Looks like as long as people object in a conservation area BT will just have to listen as to where people are willing to accept a cabinet or spend more money and put the needed infrastructure underground. Either way thankfully they will have to listen in this case.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Have VM ever put cabinets underground?

If people object the other option is forget it.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
quote"Have VM ever put cabinets underground?

If people object the other option is forget it."

Are there any VM cabinets that can be 1.6M tall?

Are VM excempt from planning permission most of the time like BT are?

Is there any VM cabs in conservation areas?

Isnt there more BT cabs required for their FTTC than there are VM cabs?

I agree if people object BT can indeed forget it....... Until ofcourse the government say otherwise with one of their bright ideas where they insist x percent are connected.
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
Yes there are VM cabinets that are that tall, yes VM are exempt most of the time as BT are as are every, yes there are many VM cabs in conservation areas, there are usually more VM cabinets in an area than BT ones due to needing intermediate amplification though these are of varying size and most are much smaller than 1.6M.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
The VM box in my road is half the size of the BT box. Its also located in a far better location not outside anyones home, behind a hedgerow... Glancing you can not even see it.
Its clear from this story and prior ones BT just want to shove boxes where they want to. Its about time people said no to them. Well done to the objections i say.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
I think you will find it makes sense to locate the FTTC cabinets close to the existing ones. Typically a few meters away to reduce the cost of duct. Some are located on the opposite side of the road.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
That cant be happening in some areas though Somerset otherwise why would people complain? If there is an ugly box there already one more wouldnt make a difference... I suspect its more like their other recent cabinet installing debacle...
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/4176-uproar-over-fibre-cabinets-in-st-albans.html
and
http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/confrontation_over_bt_broadband_boxes_in_st_albans_1_294835
Posted by JimmyR over 4 years ago
'My' street cabinet is on Eaton Road, about 100 metres from Hove exchange. I live in the Willett Estate Conservation Area and the new cabinet will be installed up against a brick wall at the side of a house. It's a much neater installation than the original BT box which is right beside the kerb. Luckily for me 'my' cabinet is one of the ones that has been given the go-ahead because the planning delegation decreed that “prior approval IS NOT REQUIRED.” Great news indeed but I fear long delays for the other 50+ sites that still have to be approved of the conservationists have their way.
Posted by JimmyR over 4 years ago
"Hopefully this won't produce any delays to the roll-out of fibre in Brighton which is expected to go live in December 2010." Brighton Withdean and Hove are part of the roll out but Brighton Kemptown which covers central Brighton isn't part of this tranche of the FTTC rollout.
Posted by shaunhw over 4 years ago

Crikey. In about 50 years time, when they've all become part of the landscape but BT don't need them anymore, the same groups will want to slap a listed building order or something, just like happened with the red phone boxes...

Technology and humanity shapes the landscape not the other way around. All human buildings of any kind are artificial.

Posted by MarkHampshire over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - think you're being a little optimistic there. There's probably a reason why FTTC is branded as "BT Infinity" :-)
Posted by martinaj over 4 years ago
I lice in Birmingham and if BT want to install FTTC in my road they can shove the new box wherever they want!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
quote"I lice in Birmingham and if BT want to install FTTC in my road they can shove the new box wherever they want!"

The voice of your whole street no doubt?
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
Bend over then, FTTA it is!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
^^^ LOL coffee spat everywhere.... Much better than my jibe :)
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Have added a link to a map of the located to this article.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 4 years ago
Nice find John :)
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