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London UK Councils Fear Pedestrian Harm from Broadband Infrastructure Bill

Thursday, March 14th, 2013 (8:10 am) - Score 789

London’s 33 local authorities have today warned that the UK government’s new Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which is designed boost the roll-out of faster broadband ISP services by cutting red tape in the planning system, could pass additional costs onto city boroughs and “endanger road users” by obstructing pedestrian walkways and reducing sightlines.

London Councils, which represents the capital’s many local authorities and claims to support the publicly and privately funded roll-out superfast broadband (25Mbps+) to 90% of people by 2015, fears that the new bill will make it even easier for BT and other telecoms related companies to “bypass community decision-making and install new [street cabinets]“.

Cllr Chris Roberts, London Councils Executive Member for Planning, said:

We all want to support the rollout of broadband, but this must not compromise the ability of elected councillors to ensure our streets are both safe and attractive.

If the government is serious about localism, it should realise that greater, not lesser, planning powers are needed for local communities to deal with the actions of irresponsible telecoms companies.”

Mr Roberts suggested that London’s boroughs already have “insufficient powers to control the visual appearance of their communities” and have thus had to deal with a “double-whammy of poor planning protections and poor consultation” by telecoms companies.

The comments, which form part of the London Councils official response to the related bills consultation, follows only two days after the government agreed to amend its bill in order to better protect national parks and other areas of outstanding natural beauty (here).

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16 Responses
  1. Avatar FTTX says:

    The country needs Broadband and the Councillors need to co-op to get there in any reasonable time frame.

    BT are not the only ones to be worrying about. There could be a free for all with many new cabinets (and possibly Poles) going in.
    Residential areas Underground fed by BT, could have overground infrastructure such as poles deployed by competitors.

    There are less intrusive ways to deploy, possibly they should be used?
    Fibre has a span of 80Km point to point, 20Km if a PoN network. There doesn’t really need to be many cabs at all.

    Let the fun begin.

  2. Avatar New_Londoner says:

    A bit pointless for London boroughs to be getting worked up about this surely? Most of the work in London is already completed, was undertaken under the existing rules.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Sadly not, in fact some quite sizeable areas still cannot get a good service (e.g. some parts of East London). As ever the broadband issue is not one isolated to rural areas. But having said that it is fair to say that plenty of those 33 boroughs probably wouldn’t be affected.

    2. Avatar dragoneast says:

      Politicians are greedy (just like the rest of us). So most of it’s about taking power “territory” where you can, and giving up as little of your power “territory” as you can. Just the game, played with the weapon of the press release. It impresses the electorate (or the bit of it that matters).

  3. Avatar NGA for all says:

    Many European Cities are taking the fibre access plunge and moving to replace copper access. The French regulator has managed to demand and get infrastructure sharing and implement a requirement for building owners to own the duct and the risers, so competition can be facilitated. VULA looked great 2 years ago, but now looks dated in urban areas given non UK urban consumers are getting a choice of fibre providers while not needing their copper. The fibre transition to fibre can begin with UBF monies and £300m worth of licence fee, given the rural projects look, unusually, more than well funded.

    Forcing a pro-competitive environment for an FTTP transition in urban areas, even if it takes 20 years to complete would be better, than allowning public monies spent on in-fill solutions.

  4. Avatar bob says:

    THe cost of full fibre in urban areas is probably little more than for FTTC.

    With Full fibre you do not need active equipment installed around the streets in a nion controlled environment. You could remove the copper and sell it and it also cuts out theft which is a growing cost for BT and if you add in the cost to businesses that is a signficant cost

    Potentially you could look at removing the terrestrial transmitter network with big savings there. Currently over 10% of the TV licence pays for that. THe freed up frequencies can then ne leased to mobile operators etc

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Can you please quantify “a little more”, in terms of urban deployment across the country, how much more?

    2. Avatar zemadeiran says:

      Well said and put Bob,

      I am no bean counter but would say that fibre PON would be significantly cheaper the FTTC to implement. This boils down to the fact that you pointed out about active equipment in the cabs etc.

      How much does a new vdsl cab costs vs running PON to the connected properties on an existing cab?

      Even better, if you are in an urban environment with blocks of flats you can deliver FTTB and then PON to each flat etc.

      Distance would no longer be an issue along with speed and bandwidth for future applications.

      I wish someone that could push legislation through would read ispreview and the majority of pro fibre comments.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      No I do not believe it costs less to put in a cab that can serve 200+ properties with FTTC than PON to serve 200+ I’m not sure where you are getting those figures.

      As you say, you are no bean counter, no offense intended

      What is the cost of a FTTC cab, I know it varies on location but lets say £50k, even £100k

      On average for PON (fibre on demand) you are looking at £1k per property more for some but lets stick with a high cost for the cab and a low cost for FTTP

      £100k to serve 288 customers with FTTC (over priced)
      £288k to serve 288 PON customers at £1k per property (under priced)

      FTTCvsFTTP studies have been done already read up

  5. Avatar Zemadeiran says:


    You would need 12 32 way pon splitters to cover all the properties on a 288 home street at a massive cost of £100 each or much less.

    These would be fed via another 4 way passive splitter in the the existing cab at the end of the street.

    You could put a 12 way splitter on each pole due to the very cheap price.

    You could even run fibre along the guttering if the houses are terraced and split at each house.

    Labour to run the fibre cables would overshadow the physical cable/splitters cost by a massive amount.

    FibreFred, with all due respect why do you insist on pissing into the wind?

    1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      You’re right bout the labour costs, which will be huge for FTTP vs FTTC as you need a new connection to every property. Also you need to allow for the cost of the electronics, no just the passive items.

    2. Avatar zemadeiran says:


      What I want to see is engineers with jobs, especially in these tight times.

      I think about it and always take into account the people on the ground looking after our comms need.

      You really only need an OLT at the exchange and an ONU at each home and everything else is passive.

      £1k per home on a terraced street with poles is ludicrous and I would like to see an independent whole street install test undertaken for a baseline analysis.

      I would rather give our engineers the money: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10359548

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Zem don’t think for a second that I am against Ftth because I am all for it, it’s just a case of who pays for it. Of course we will all need it at some point , it’s just a case of financing it

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      As for pssing in the wind I’m not. Costs for fttc vs Ftth in the uk have been done already but you are saying Ftth comes in cheaper ?

  6. Avatar keith says:

    “FibreFred, with all due respect why do you insist on p*$$ing into the wind?”

    Can’t be helped its a drafty basement he never leaves. Im more interested in why he talks out of the other hole.

    1. Avatar zemadeiran says:


      Remarks like that are not justified as we are all people and have like minded interests on ispreview.

      FibreFred may be fighting against the tide but I for one welcome his point of view.

      This is what makes us British, we should welcome input be it right or wrong.

      In my opinion, FibreFred will be converted to the light side sooner or later… 🙂

      Good weekend to all.

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