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back to article Wealthy Kensington & Chelsea residents reject BT fibre cabinets

BT has been forced to withdraw its plans to plonk 108 fibre optic cabling cabinets on the streets of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The council rejected 96 of the proposals put forward by BT, City AM reports. The national telco had planned to install fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology so it could offer about …

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they can put one or two in my village if they like.

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Anonymous Coward

Radnage and surrounding would love to take theirs

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Looks like you will be more likely to get it!

We have a few of the cabinets for BT Fibre around Stortford and if I am honest they look like all their other cabinets they have put in for the past 30 or so years. NTL plastered the streets with their plastic boxes in the same fashion and BT need to be able to compete with Virgin on speed.

On the good side it'll give kids more stuff to jump.

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Anonymous Coward

I suppose they don't need it, they have servants to run around for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Not all residents

I am a sometime resident there, although not a wealthy one, so maybe the headline doesn't refer to the bit of RBKC where I live. I did not know about the plans (and I do scan the planning letters that I do get from the council) but I would have supported them wholeheartedly. I shall certainly be writing to my councillor to complain. Yes I can get alternatives (unlike the unlucky people in the countryside) but for business reasons dont particularly want Virgin Media as my supplier.

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Re: Not all residents

If you don't Virgin Media, Hyperoptic have indicated that they are happy to fill any gap left by BT in RBKC. Hyperoptic are offering fibre with speeds up to 1G without any boxes in the street.

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Creativity

They should have planned to disguise them as trees or something, appropriate to the environment. Or considered the deployment of bungs.

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Re: Creativity

I was thinking the same thing. Surely they can be made to look like they fit in...

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Re: Creativity

If that is the case the residents should pay for it, not BT and by extension their customers..

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Re: Creativity

Are you going to pay for that?

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TRT
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Re: Creativity

I've seen them. They are ugly as sin. I can't blame the council for rejecting them. In the good old days, they'd make public utility cabinets look like little park-keeper's houses and site them in the numerous greens and gardens. There's a couple of big ones at the end of my road in a park that they put there in the 1920s when they moved the gas, water and electricity points away from a junction they thought they might have to enlarge in the near future (they didn't).

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Re: Creativity

They had already successfully installed 3 new exchanges by disguising them as Range Rovers.

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Re: Creativity

Given the location, wouldn't they have to disguise the cabinets as 4x4s?

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Re: Creativity

@TRT

people like you are ones who stop these types of expanding

I guess you also one of the oldies that ask for speed bumps as well down your road

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Street sited?

Genuine question - do they actually need to be sited at street level? Is there any reason they couldn't be put underground ?

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Go

Re: Street sited?

I imagine it'd just cost too much, both to install and to maintain. The point of them being above ground is so that BT engineers can easily reach them to patch cables and so forth.

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Holmes

Re: Street sited?

Drainage, cabling and pipework may well be an issue, but apart from that I don't see why not. It would cost a *lot* more though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Street sited?

Yes, the health and safety PC brigade dont want the engineers getting themselves hurt whilst trying to do the job they get over paid for, they might sue BT for sending a claustrophobic engineer into a pit, just like we had one turn up here that refused to do the call as with his fear of heights "he would not come up to the 12th floor in our glass sided lifts" and H&S ruled he couldnt be made to use the stairs instead

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Re: Street sited?

Indeed. Am currently working in Spain and all of their infrastructure tends to go underground; pipes, substations, telephone concentrators, etc. in a few places there are poles too.

The thing is that this costs more, so companies would rather stick them on the pavement instead (and sorry if you are in a wheelchair, or have a pushchair/pram).

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@Deains - Re: Street sited?

To Hell with BT. Usually they get a thoroughly deserved arse-kicking in these discussions - why not today?

And no, I don't live in K&C, but this applies anywhere.

There is no good reason at all why this stuff cannot be put underground. Mains electrical junctions are underground. Gas junctions are underground. Water connections are underground. Around Bristol, the fibre and its connections put in 10(?) years ago are underground. Many existing copper telcom connections are underground.

But BT want this chance of some new installations to save themselves from, what? - lifting a manhole cover rather than hinging a door open? Are they all pussies these days? Go to Hell, BT.

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Joke

Re: @Deains - Street sited?

> Go to Hell, BT.

I'm sorry, but they can't do that - it would mean going underground.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Deains - Street sited?

"There is no good reason at all why this stuff cannot be put underground. "

Agreed - but the way we put stuff underground at the moment is insane. Dig up the road/pavement, bury the pipe or cable in the mud, relay road/pavement, and repeat all over again when the next thing comes along. *

A common-sense approach would be to lay future-proof accessible ducts under the pavement that can carry many pipes and cables. Sadly it will never happen

* We do the same thing in our houses by burying cables and pipes in plaster. Basically our civil engineering is still playing in the mud

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Terminator

Re: Street sited?

"Is there any reason they couldn't be put underground"

You'd have to seal them, this is high voltage equipment and most ducts are flooded when it rains. I'd say it's probably cost prohibitive and if one council doesn't want them they can stay in the 30's. Don't blame BT one bit.

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Anonymous Coward

@nuke Re: @Deains - Street sited?

How often do gas, water and copper have to be maintained?

Hint, a lot less than active comms gear in a cabinet. Copper, fibre, gas piping and electricity cabling all tend to sit there for forever and a day without needing maintenance unless they get a bad case of Irish rust.

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Re: Street sited?

It would certainly be impractical to site them underground. Apart from the access issues the kit inside those cabinets generates a LOT of heat and have to be actively ventilated. Fully equipped when you open the door to the active side it's like opening an oven. They also contain mains voltage which means they have to be sealed against water ingress. Difficult to ventilate a hole in the ground and stop the rain getting in!

Under the streets of most large cities is already more congested than the surface and I expect this borough would be a prime example.

The cabinets need to be within 100m of the existing copper cross-connexion cabinet which, along with routing the tie cables between them does limit the location. As someone who works on FTTC I'm well aware that this can lead to some awkwardly sited cabinets! Often though this is done to maintain a minimum width of footway (when closed) to allow the passage of pushchairs/wheelchairs etc.

I've often wondered whether some could be sited inside adjacent properties but that's almost certainly a logistical, financial, and legal minefield :-(

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Sir

Perhaps if they had a few more burnt out cars* left in their borough a couple of fibre cabinets won't seem quite so bad.

*Bentleys - it is Chelsea.

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Oh dear how sad

Send the installation engineers down my way. They're already over a year late.

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WTF?

spare FTTC kit

ok then so the well-heeled don't want the cabinets and will presumably miss out on FTTC at this stage. So come-on BT let's have them in my area where the average speed is 3mbit and the local exchange has no plans for FTTC.

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So plonk this borough at the arse end of the priority list...

...and let other folks who are more willing to get FTTC deployed have a chance instead

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The Stechford (brum) exchange could do with a bit of BT love. We don't care too much about the size of cabs, you should see what Birmingham Cable (now Virgin) left.

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Mushroom

le sigh

I can't believe people are so arrogent sometimes. I'm talking mainly about the fact BT refused to cooperate with the councel. I can't help think it went ike this

"Well, the only way to do FTTC woudl be with one of our cabinets. It looks like this here's the dimension"

"It looks ugly and its too big, shrink it down to half the size and paint it beige"

"Well... We COULD paint it beige, but we can't feasably shrink it to half size"

"No, half size or you can't do it"

"I'm saying that right now it is impossible to cut them down to half their current size"

"Why won't you cooperate"

"We're trying, but this just isn't possible"

"Stop being so stubborn and just shrink down the size of the cabinet"

"FUUUUUUUUU----

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Re: le sigh

This is K&C you know - the borough that has something like 8 times as many parking permits than parking places.

It's not BT being un co-operative - more like K&C being thier usual selves.

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Re: le sigh

Then what's stopping BT from negotiating private agreements on people's private land to do the same? It's quite easy to do this (companies do it all the time for mobile phone masts, etc.), doesn't need council approval (at least, nowhere near as much and can you really object to someone on private land much?) but just a little extra paperwork. And those landowners geeky enough around there would probably be in like a shot if they were given, say, one free fibre.

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Re: le sigh

I imagine a good chunk the residents sit on the required council boards. I am surprised that some enterprising chap doesnt charge "rent" for a junction box in their servants quarters.

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Mushroom

NIMBYs

I have no problem with people protesting and campaigning against things based on genuine evidence that the object of their ire is dangerous / damaging to the environment, etc, etc.

The problem with NIMBYs is that they first decide they don't like something, then hunt around for evidence to support their personal dislike, then make an inordinate amount of noise to get whatever they dislike stopped, irrespective of how it would benefit the (silent) majority.

NIMBYs, self-serving arseholes, the lot of them.

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Re: NIMBYs

A friends has a cable modem green box outside his fence (back garden). In hot weather you can certainly hear the fans whirring away and you can hear it with your window open at night so they do make annoying sounds. That being said this is a countryside environment where you do get quiet so probably not as common as the articles locations.

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Facepalm

A classic example...

.. of the reality gap and a small subset of the population having a different set of priorities.

"Broadband? Why do I need that I'm loaded!" "Don't we get ours through Fortnam's?"

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"Historic Streetscape"?

Not around here it's not. Maybe I work in a different K&C, all we have is dogshit. I'm starting to think the only fibre around here is fed by the residents to their dogs.

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Historic streetscape?

Kensington and Chelsea are pleasant enough, but I think "historic" is stretching things.

The simple answer, of course, is to disguise the cabinets as parked cars. That's what all the streets in RBKC are already lined with.

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Alert

BANANAs

= "Build Absolutely Not Anywhere Near Anything"

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

I live in a conservation area in central Reading. It's the councils flagship area, which features small to medium sized Victorian red-brick terraces and some really large sandstone town houses. All of these buildings have a minimum of a preservation order, some are listed grade two, the churches are grade one. We've just had BT put the new greenboxes in and there hasn't been a single complain or query raised at the local Pub (centre of the community) and we're all shoutey middle class real-alers. The point is that while we all live in houses that are over a hundred years old, no-one thinks that they live in a museum, some things need to change - we need telephony services, there is no alternative to the greenbox and they can be put in less conspicuous places. However but we don't allow satellite dishes on the front of the houses, because they're ugly and if you need satellite TV, you can just stick it on the back of your house on a pole.

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Alert

Why bother ?

Just don't install the new FTTC systems at all and have a nice set of the objection letters to hand, and every time someone tries to order a new, faster line, send them a copy of the objection and ask the requester to sort a few of these folks out.

No reason why an operator should increase its cost base because the locals 'do not like the look of something'.

Next thing the locals will object to will be cars older than 12 months old or anything that doesn't require a second mortgage to insure.

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Re: Why bother ?

problem is its likely that 5-10 residents or an bunch of oldies complained that sit on the council board in that area are saying no for all 15,000-30,000 proprieties that are connected to that exchange that mite Want FTTC 4 years ago

I be peeved at my local council as they likely not see fast-normal internet now for the next 10 years now, as BT got better things to do then try an get an council to allow the install to happen

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Fair enough

"Eurgh! The boxes are ugly, you can't use them!"

"Fine, we won't. Enjoy your slow broadband."

It is pure NIMBYism. Just like the people who shout for more wind farms until you put them in an area they like. Let 'em do without (or pay significantly more)!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fair enough

I'd say it's more like bananaism - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.

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Re: Fair enough

NIMBYism usually refers something which is beneficial to the wider population but has an adverse effect on one local area. Most of us are NIMBYs when it comes down to it. If they build something bad near your home it's a double whammy - it spoils your home life but you can't move because you are suddenly in negative equity. I would protest like hell and find any excuse for them not to do it to me, to do it to someone else instead, and so would most of you.

This is different - if the people in a particular borough genuinely* hate these boxes so much that they would rather stay with slow broadband, then that's their choice isn't it? It doesn't affect the rest of us, why be sniffy and say they should go back to dial-up? Let them keep their existing connection if they prefer, that's local democracy. It might even be rational if having the boxes bring house prices down.

*depends whether it is genuine of course. If most people want fibre and it is just a few overly influential luddites stopping it, get together and make some noise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fair enough

There's a bit of a difference between a waste processing plant or a nuclear power station being built next door and a 4 foot tall green box being plonked on the pavement though. It's hardly going to have an adverse effect on property prices for more than a few days, even at the current rate of property value growth.

This is NIMBYism pure and simple. If they want 'pretty' boxes and fast broadband then they can discuss how much they should pay BT to come up with an aesthetically pleasing solution.

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Have fun on your super-highway B road.

"Perhaps one of its competitors will step into the role."

Let me see... Who else provides cables to the premises? Oh, that'll be Virgin Media...

Good luck with that idea if the road isn't already cabled.

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Mushroom

Meh. It obviously shows how unnecessary fast access is for the people who have objected, so screw them and their au-pairs and traffic-shape the whole f*ng borough to oblivion and give the rest of us the spare backhaul bandwidth.

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again most likely was only 10 or less people (Old maybe) that did that had influence on the local council that do not care or/and do not Own an computer

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