Whenever AT&T wants to offer an area it’s U-Verse FTTN/VDSL service, AT&T requires that the city give them permission to install utility cabinets all over the city. This means that AT&T and other broadband providers (like Comcast) can use a significant portion of public land (or private land with easement rights to the city) to install their cabinets. And yes, they are quite ugly. So ugly that AT&T has paid cities thousands per cabinet to landscape their look.
To be fair though, the broadband providers don’t hide about the need to install these boxes. This is not new. It’s simply the price of new builds. So, while some cities wanted upgraded broadband, they also wanted it to be done in a better looking way. As Karl Bode noted in an article titled “We Want Broadband — Provided It’s Aesthetically Pleasing,” some get annoyed by the fact that the providers need to place a massive box in front of their homes.
But then there are what I think are the legitimate concerns about how the cabinets are being installed by providers. Such as when one Santa Rosa resident came home and found “a 13-foot-long hole in her front yard” that included AT&T going two feet over her property line. Then there was residents in Florida who had to deal with Verizon FiOS subcontractors using incorrect city maps and busting sewer and gas lines. Then there are residents dealing with cabinets that hurl shrapnel, cause garages to explode and cause smoke inhalation.
Now, residents in North Carolina say that AT&T forgot to mention the fact that their yards would now include the ugly green boxes.
AT&T hung flyers on the residents doors in which they cited that they were “going to do some work in their lawns” but never mentioned that utility boxes would be permanently installed on their property.
As multiple neighbors noted:
“We were shocked. We had no idea that they were going to be putting these poles in our yard and I don’t think any of us want to buy the service unless they fix the problem,” said Dana Amato, one neighbor who now has a box in her front yard. – WFMY
“I’m not overly excited about them,” said Charles Carriker, a neighbor who also has a box in his lawn. “What would have been better is going in and letting us know why?” – WFMY
“If they want customers, then I think they should have a little bit of consideration or at least poll the neighbors before they do this and say, ‘What do you think if we do this?’ But they didn’t,” said Dana Palm, who lives a couple streets over. – WFMY
As WFMY News 2 noted in their story, the homeowners can’t do anything legally since their property has easements which allow for the installation of equipment and wires from a utility company.