back to article Brighton NIMBYs complain over BT broadband upgrades

BT's broadband boxes have run into planning opposition again, this time from a group of conservation societies on the south coast. Five societies have launched a campaign against the new "monster" street side cabinets the firm's Openreach division is installing in Brighton and Hove. Their concerns echo a chorus of complaints …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Move then?

    Move along the coast, say Hastings? These cabinets would give the homeless winos who seem to inhabit the prom, somewhere warm and cosy for the night!

    1. Phil Standen

      The Argus and The Register joining forces?

      1. ElNumbre
        Paris Hilton

        Well chosen URL?

        I wondered what I was clicking when I saw that URL - "Waste of Huge Box for Tiny Part". Thought it might be a story about a wizards sleeve or the like.

        Paris, because she knows about putting tools in her box.

        1. danielhall2922
          Thumb Up

          Dirty minded individual, love it!

          You sir, have a very dirty mind!

          You made my day, Well done! hahaha

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Let them fight it out

    I'm sure BT have lots and lots of places they could install these upgrades in, rather than sticking them in Brighton. A pragmatic approach would be to say to the NIMBOIs "OK, we'll upgrade someone else instead. Have a chat amongst yourselves, if anyone complains to us we'll refer them to you. Let us know what sort of solution you want and are prepared to pay for - we'll see what we can do".

    Then just carry on with the rollout in other places that are easier to work with and come back to Brighton in a few years time.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    ..they can team up with those conservation societies in Pakistan and ban the Wicked Intertubes alltogether ?

    Ya know, the asthetics of circuit boxes and certain religious figures must be taken care of !!

  4. AC-This-Isn't-Facebook

    Title Required

    As always, a few select up their own arse idiots trying to hold the country back.

  5. N2 Silver badge


    Thats something that houses so little, could be made so large

    Congratulations BT, to miniaturisation.

  6. RISC OS

    What does the Regency Society know about broadband internet...

    ...and its technical requirements? Probably about as much as I do, which is nothing. I guess that's why they weren't asked for their opinion then.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      It's actually the other way around.

      Because of conservation area concerns, BT have built exchanges that are period-appropriate.

      We're actually talking giant steam-driven switches here, which logically need rather large housing and vents, a water supply and an 24/7 attendance by some urchin.

      1. CD001


        ... that would be AWESOME!

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Steam Cabinets

        "... [and] 24/7 attendance by some urchin."

        Resolving truancy, homelessness and unemployment in one stroke?!

        Brilliant, sir!

      3. Mike Richards Silver badge

        As well as being a very awesome idea... does point out that all these conservation societies only ever want to preserve the 'nice' bits of any period. (Manu)factories and slums aren't considered worth saving so we end up with horrors like the National Trust and Prince Charles who think the only bits of the past we should have are those that look good on the back of a tea towel and can have a tea shop attached.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I live in a conservation area, and I wouldn't like one of the new BT green boxes in my street, unless they were Giant Green Steam Powered Difference Engine Based ADSL (GGSPDEBA - I'm sure they'll work out a better acronym.) Steam powered would be ace, an actual (proper oldschool) windmill would be better, but I suspect we'd only have enough room for the steam and said attendant urchin. They'd need an urchin.

    2. John Sturdy

      They are larger than the current generation mainly because they require power.

      "mainly because they require power" is no excuse. Could someone please point out to BT that the age of ENIAC is over and everyone else (apart from the North Sentinelese, who still communicate with the outside world by shooting arrows at anyone who comes near -- the ultimate NIMBYs?) has gone over to compact solid-state systems?

    3. Luther Blissett

      There's a green mp there, so

      why has no-one suggested putting a windmill on top? (Windmills have a very good historical pedigree - they go at least as far back as Don Quixote, who was well pre-Regency).

  7. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Seems fair to me

    Anyone should have the right to give input on changes to street furniture in their area. It's called taking pride in where you live. If you happen to live in a conservation area then it's even more important.

    Now personally I'd rather have the service(*) but I respect these people for standing up for themselves.

    (*)Actually what I'd rather see is BT reserving FTTC for rural area and went FTTP in urban areas. The RoI is more long term but then long term thinking is what's lacking here.

  8. Steve Loughran
    Thumb Up

    I hate them too

    I've been nimby-ish in bristol and opposed one in our road. It's not just they are big and ugly, they wanted to put them on a build-out to help schoolkids cross a busy road, up against a wall that is listed. BT and all the mobile phone telcos think that pavements are unused bits of space for them and their vans, rather than the only safeish bit of the street for people walking. If they want to put them up, put them in the middle of roundabouts and make them look pretty.

    1. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up

      Ooh. Clever...

      You know, that strikes me as an extremely clever lateral-thinking solution! Roundabouts aren't generally used as anything but a place for traffic not to be. I don't know what the accidental destruction rate might be, but it isn't unknown for roadside boxes to get hit either, so...

      Mr Loughran, I take my hat off to you. :)

  9. Thomas 4

    Spoken like a true NIMBY

    “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.”

    And then after we've been consulted, we're still going to say no.

  10. Gaz 2


    Unless it's physically harmful or you live off grid you should have no right to block developments that benefit the wider community. If we happily make use of services that are blighting someone else's life the official response should be FOAD...

    1. JohnG Silver badge


      So, if your local council decided to allow some company to install huge advertising hoardings on the pavement outside your house because the revenue would benefit the wider community, you would have no problem with this? It is not as if looking at the back of an advertising hoarding would be physically harmful to you, it it?

      The street does not belong to BT so why should they be able to dump their stuff there with minimal constraints when everyone else has to jump through hoops to get planning permission to build anything on their own properties?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Typical NIMBY sillyness...

        "So, if your local council decided to allow some company to install huge advertising hoardings on the pavement outside your house because the revenue would benefit the wider community..." Completely different issue. Will *you* pay the extra it costs for me to get a serviceable broadband service, because you want your street to look like something from Poundbury? Didn't think so.

        "The street does not belong to BT so why should they be able to dump their stuff there with minimal constraints when everyone else has to jump through hoops to get planning permission to build anything on their own properties?" The street no more doesn't 'belongs' to the residents either. BT, like many other large and not-so-large businesses have a team that are dedicated to this task. They are 'expert' at gaining planning permission; they understand the planning legislation and the application process, just like other civil/structural engineers and architects do! Contrary to popular belief, they don't just stick a pin in an A to Z and place the cab there, neither are they merely doing this for shits and giggles or to directly piss off the suburban NIMBY, meticulous planning does actually go into it.

        An aside; if you have to 'jump through hoops' to get planning you are doing it wrong, employ an architect or an engineer to do it for you.

        1. JohnG Silver badge

          NIMBY sillyness?

          "Typical NIMBY sillyness"

          The sillyness was someone suggesting that anything is justified if done for the common good.

          The NIMBY jibe suggests that I would be happy if the problem is dumped on someone else: that is not the case - I don't mind having such things in my street but would prefer them to be installed with some attempt to be less intrusive and not to take half of the available pavement. I fail to understand the ranting of some that BT should be able to install what they like, as if Internet access speed is the only thing that matters in life.

          "Will *you* pay the extra it costs for me to get a serviceable broadband service, because you want your street to look like something from Poundbury? Didn't think so"

          Well, you thought wrong. I wouldn't mind paying extra to avoid the the road looking like an industrial estate if I felt I needed the speed. As it happens, I value my home environment more than the speed of my Internet connection. Each to their own.

          "The street no more doesn't 'belongs' to the residents either."

          True but residents can't build in the street despite the fact that residents pay for the council to maintain it. Other utilities have to acquire their own land to site (and disguise) their equipment - why should BT be any different?

          "An aside; if you have to 'jump through hoops' to get planning you are doing it wrong, employ an architect or an engineer to do it for you."

          Regardless of which people you employ, planning consent is difficult to obtain in many parts of the country unless you are well connected. It depends where you live.

          I'm sure BT's planners have sleepless nights worrying about the visual impact of their installations and of the disruption caused to everyone during works.

  11. Number6


    Yes please, BT, come and install one in our village. Your current box blends in well with the bushes and trees behind it and I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd welcome a decent broadband speed. Why waste your time and money on the whingers when rural communities would benefit far more?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Ha ha

      ...and I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd welcome a decent broadband speed...

      From BT???? Good luck with that.

  12. Anon the mouse


    Give us rural broadband

    Don't install broadband equipment.

    Make your minds up

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Everybody knows the simple solution for problems like this.

    Publicly announce that you can't install any of these until the complaints go away, and drop a leaflet through every door explaining that the conservation society torpedoed their new super fast broadband along with a telephone number and address for them.

    Stand back, watch the fireworks and then when the conservation society decides that it's not such a big deal because of all of the complaints then the kit goes in.

    1. Nuke
      Thumb Down

      Ever Been to Brighton?

      It isn't rural.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brighton != rural

        Perhaps just the thinking is parochial?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leaflet campaign

      On the plus side, it would ensure that everyone knew what was going on... and not be so susceptible to backroom dealings...

      "Oi, I see you want to put in a nice, new fiber cabinet there... too bad the residents mind it, see. Now, I happen to have a nice place for it, convenient yet out of the way... All I ask is a bit of lease that'll cost less then fighting the local council..."

      Can't tell me that doesn't go on... a lot...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    They can put one in my backyard

    Then it would mean I might actually get somewhere close to the promised internet speeds. But then again, I'm in the North West and we won't be seeing any of BT's investment for another 20 years (probably).

  15. Anonymous Coward

    How noisy are they?

    There is a box about 5 foot high relating to a mobile phone mast near me and it has the noisiest fans you ever heard. They are incredibly loud, and can be heard above the traffic going past the box. I can hear them for nearly a quarter of a mile away when there is no traffic. I hope BT have a better design or I'd be objecting to having a screaming fan anyway near me. (I know - not pop start material eh?)

  16. Da Weezil


    BT would be better off concentrating on areas where there is no LLU or cable.. and leaving the NIMBYs to sub 8 meg of Virgin...but I guess having 100% of the market is not as exciting as competing in an already crowded market place

    Fail... as BT fail to reduce the broadband divide

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Same here

      but in cornwall it will be 50 years.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        ....that's only because BT won't send any more engineers while you guys keep burning them as witches...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Any better suggestions

          ????? Open to offers

        2. Mike Richards Silver badge


          They're not being burned as witches, they're being burned as Devonians for the heresy of putting the cream on the scone* first.

          * the more militant members burn people for using a scone when it should always be a split.

    2. Jacqui

      loud exhaust fans

      This probably means the bearings have gone/are going.

      One way to get them to repair this is to find a friend with a crossbow and get them to put a bolt through the fan. It has been suggested this is the only way the MNO's will actually come out and replace the fan. They seem to be firm believers in "if it works( i.e. not on fire) dont fix it".


      p.s. This was suggested at a party by a telco engineer - when someone mentioned CPU fans - and yes he was drunk :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I think it is more likely to be a sensor than the bearings as they are running at what seems to be flat out all the time, rather than screeching.

        I do like the crossbow suggestion although a decent stick would probably do the job too, and without the arrest for carrying a weapon (although not necessarily!)

      2. Skrrp

        Crossbow not needed

        A can of spray varnish unloaded into the incoming air filters should do it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have you tried...'re local environment team? Contact your council and have them measure the noise output of the thing, especially if it is going 24/7 and runs overnight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Good idea, thanks

        Title says it. :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Who knew..

        All these years, and I had no idea that I was local environment team.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Complaining about FTTC. I want them to be fitting it in my area and will probably have to wait years. Dont you just hate these moaning whinging spoilt brats?

  18. Khoos


    Any pictures of those scary monster cabinets taking over the streets? How bad is it?

    Will we see stories of monster cabinets roaming around, scaring little children, messing up gardens and doing generally inappropriate stuff?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Just leave them alone already…

    Why do they persist with these nimby ingrates?

    I for one welcome our new extra large street side cabinets packed full of communications wizardry. I have a spot for one next to my house on the corner of our street.

    By all means install it there and give me super fast broadband, and just leave the Brightonians with their existing ADSL lines.

  20. MJI Silver badge

    I'll have one instead

    It is a town so is not going to be pretty anyway. So if they don't want one I'll have one.

  21. Lottie

    But surely

    ... I though the planning process WAS public consultation? You know, the little bit of laminated paper at the site that says what's being planned asn tells you who to contact if you have an issue with it?

    There's also the whole thing of planning applications being on most councils websites. If these societies were so damned concerned about their town, they'd keep an eye on them.

    I want, I want, but someone else can deal with the practicalities of it!

  22. Stone Fox

    lord save us

    so they want the service they just don't want the infrastructure?



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