BT gives in to planning regs and moves FTTC cabinets

Broadband cable

Looks have won over technology as BT has been ordered to move a number of its new broadband cabinets in Muswell Hill.

BT broke the rules by installing 20 of the cabinets in the conservation area, to be used for its high-speed broadband trials, without first submitting planning applications to Haringey Council.

This led to a number of complaints from local residents, as well as the council itself, both for the appearance of the abnormally large boxes 1.3m tall and for the flaunting of regulations.

The area is still keen to have the high-speed broadband trials so after discussions between the council and BT, 15 of the 20 boxes have been allocated new sites and will be painted from green to black to better fit in with the other street dcor.

"It would appear that some residents of Muswell Hill consider that the benefits of a faster broadband service do not outweigh the harm to the Conservation Area caused by the intrusiveness of the boxes," the council said in a statement.

There are still five of the boxes that need new homes but the discussions are already underway to find more suitable places to hide them.

A BT spokesperson defended the size of its cabinets, saying the company was only "slightly increasing their size" for the necessary new technology but admitted its initial error if playing it down somewhat.

"As certain areas of Muswell Hill are designated as a conservation area, the planning process is far more complex; a small number of cabinets were installed in error without the specific level of planning consent needed for installations in these areas," the spokesperson said.

"We are working through this issue with Haringey Council, and are making good progress in finding alternative locations for a number of cabinets which were refused planning permission, to ensure that the maximum number of residents can benefit from access to super-fast broadband services."

IT PRO asked how much this would end up costing the company but the spokesperson said it doesn't give out these kind of figures.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.