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“Ugly” and “Intrusive” BT FTTC Broadband Cabinet Angers Fowlmere Locals

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 (11:02 am) - Score 2,087

Residents of Fowlmere, a village that’s home to around 1,200 people in southern Cambridgeshire (England), have vented anger at the local Connecting Cambridgeshire broadband project with BT after an “ugly” and “intrusive” new FTTC capable street cabinet was built to deliver superfast broadband into the community.

The state aid supported Connecting Cambridgeshire scheme, which has already helped to upgrade 45,420 premises, aims to ensure that more than 90% of homes and businesses in the county will be able to receive superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps+ by the end of 2015 (note: 98% will also be able to connect via BT’s “fibre broadbandFTTC/P network, which reflects both 24Mbps+ and sub-24Mbps speed coverage).

However, much as we’ve seen many times before, not everybody welcomes the installation of BT’s new street cabinets (a separate example cabinet is pictured above) and most tend to complain about either the chosen location or its appearance. In this instance locals complain that the cabinet was placed on a public footpath, which is despite residents being told that this wouldn’t happen.

Cllr Peter Topping, Village Representative for the Council, said:

They have installed this new junction box and what’s irritating people is that they were told it would not be put on a path, and now it has been. It’s pretty ugly and intrusive.”

A picture of the problem itself can be found on Cambridge News, although it doesn’t give a very full overview. According to the council, BTOpenreach surveyed the area three times to find the best location and that was apparently the chosen option.

In fairness it doesn’t look any different to the cabinet placements that we see across the United Kingdom and often that’s just the price you have to pay for better broadband connectivity, which most people will say is better than being stuck on slow broadband. Indeed people who can’t currently receive such services will perhaps be annoyed to see such gripes.

Meanwhile Openreach has to consider conflicts with local infrastructure and the need for access to a viable power supply. Sometimes it may be possible to place the cabinet elsewhere, yet the cost of doing so could rise significantly and that may in turn risk pushing some locations out of the deployment plan.

Leave a Comment
34 Responses
  1. Avatar Pedrostech says:

    I can understand the residents’ anger if the placement was obstructing the footpath, but certainly around here they put them in footpaths with very minimal disruption.

    I actually find cabinets quite aesthetically pleasing, but that’s probably because I like industrial design as a whole.

    Deploying cabinets, as stated, is a rather complex problem and they’ve had to resort to private land for a cab near here.

  2. Avatar George Lloyd says:

    I’m sure many people who cannot get fibre would welcome the cabinet if they don’y want it

    1. Avatar DanielM says:

      that cabinet isnt giving them fibre though… it’s giving them VDSL2

    2. Avatar Chris Evans says:

      Wow, sounds like you’re playing with words. At least they are getting a service which many other people would give their right arm for!

      BT should rip it up and plonk it somewhere which will be more thankful for it!

  3. Avatar col says:

    If I could get VDSL the cab could be pink with white spots as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Avatar Robert Waller says:

    Typical NIMBYism, they want the faster speeds but don’t want the box to be visible, oh and Cllr Peter Topping, it’s not on the path.

    1. Avatar Gadget says:

      https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=52.09265,0.073008&spn=0.000621,0.001742&t=h&z=20 shows the footpath between the High Street and the new building development in Jackson’s way. Just across the road from the Pub and the Indian Restaurant.

  5. Avatar GNewton says:

    Good on them to stand up against these BDUK/BT bullies. In most areas, the majority does not want VDSL, as is evident by the low takup rates. Get some micro-trenching done and run the fibre underground.

    1. Avatar Peter says:

      But surely even fibre to the house must use a street cabinet. Or is it being suggested that each house has an individual fibre back to the local exchange? At least with FTTC you don’t need to do any additional digging apart from possibly to connect to a new street cabinet. In many cases the new cab is next to an existing cab and the fibre runs to it in the existing street duct. I wonder do these objectors also find red post boxes, telephone boxes and street lights disfigure their streets?

    2. Avatar GNewton says:

      Fibre broadband doesn’t require cabinets.

      If on the other hand, the residents want VDSL only, fair enough.

      However, residents were told that the cabinet box would not be placed on any public footpaths. There may be a good engineering reason as to why this has to go there, but not to keep the community informed was unacceptable.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      ” In most areas, the majority does not want VDSL”

      Lol ok, you speak for the masses now?

    4. Avatar col says:

      Most people would not know what vdsl is.

    5. Avatar fastman2 says:

      gnewton — so your plan is to dig up the whole of the village instead

    6. Avatar No Clue says:

      Unless it is known cabling in that village is not fully ducted its impossible to say if any digging would be needed.

    7. Avatar GNewton says:

      The village may not be large, but it is densely populated, and by the looks of it, ducts already exist to the many poles, and from the it’s drop wires to the premises. So it’s not that hard to use fibre to the premises, you don’t have to dig the whole village.

    8. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I assume you’ve surveyed and costed both models and FTTP was cheaper?


      Ok, I’ll ignore your irrelevant post then

    9. Avatar No Clue says:

      “I assume you’ve surveyed and costed both models and FTTP was cheaper?


      Ok, I’ll ignore your irrelevant post then”

      Bit of a silly thing to say as that suggests you know they have checked the costs for both models in that area. Which i doubt you do know, which in turn makes you most no more relevant than his. Your opinion may differ but you can not prove or disprove that area what that area would cost for either model.

    10. Avatar Raindrops says:

      Ah the walking, talking, mental contradiction that is Fred logic 😀

  6. Avatar terri says:

    they should be greatful to have the vdsl rubbish lol

    1. Avatar Col says:

      VDSL rubbish beats ADSL rubbish.

    2. Avatar terri says:

      vdsl rubbish is absolute shite adsl works without contacting isp every other month threw the speed issues you have .

  7. Avatar Mark Craies says:

    Maybe they could consider adding some street art to the cabinet similar to what they do in New Zealand. See http://www.chorus.co.nz/cabinet-art for some examples.

  8. Avatar adslmax says:

    @ DanielM
    November 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    that cabinet isnt giving them fibre though… it’s giving them VDSL2

    Correct there. It fibre from the exchange to the street cabinet. But still 100% copper from street cabinet to property. 50/50 on VDSL2

  9. Avatar No Clue says:

    Much as this will shock some or rather one individual this particular cabinet i can not see much issue with. The area in has been placed in that road is reasonably sensible (actually more than reasonably sensible considering some of the inept places BT have shoved cabinets before).

    If you look on street view you can see some of the positives as to where it has been placed….

    1) It is almost slap bang in the middle of the residential area of that village. So in terms of providing the best service from its placement a sensible place.

    2) It is situated almost exactly in the middle/between at least 2 current telephone poles and not that far from the old cabinet (at least not far for a rural area like this). Also its near a current phone box so in terms of visual appeal its in a area which already has a load of telecoms stuff already. Again sensible in a rural area and placed where infrastructure already was rather than ruining an unspoilt part of the village.

    3) The part of the pavement it has been placed on THAT VILLAGES SO CALLED BIGGEST MOAN and that particular road (IE the end of the B1368 one end of the High Street) Is actually one of the widest bits of pavement along that road which is close to residents. So if it had to go on the pavement in this case it appears BT actually used something called common sense and placed it on the part which would cause the least hindrance/obstacle/obstruction. In instances before they have not given a crap and placed it on bends/junctions causing visual issues to traffic/narrow parts of pavements/right outside a persons home and/or right against their property. At least this time they put some thought and planning into it.

    About the only thing residents IMO have any right to moan about is if the council and/or BT promised it would not go on a pavement as they are claiming, and given the build up of the area (again look on google maps) I HIGHLY DOUBT either party made a set in stone promise of that, about the most i reckon was said is that they would TRY NOT to place it on a pavement, which in this case was not possible or just would not make sense.

    THERE YOU GO Fibrefred i bet this post has shocked you, see i can defend BT when they do a job properly and they are worth defending, rather than them being total muppets for a change.

  10. Avatar timeless says:

    kinda funny really users are quick to complain about speed to their ISPs but when the area gets upgraded everyone is up in arms about it. and tbh l dont see a problem with it unless it was obstructing something and a safety hazard..

  11. Avatar hmm says:

    curtain twitchers

  12. Avatar Andy says:

    If they don’t want it, send it my way. You can even put it in my front garden and I’ll polish it every day for you.
    No really, please send it my way…

  13. Avatar TheManStan says:

    Who told them it wouldn’t be on the path, the councillors or Openreach?

    Have the councillors made promises that they couldn’t be kept?

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      The council would have had details of the cabinet locations in advance of installation.

    2. Avatar themanstan says:

      Since when has advance knowledge of fact prevented politicians from making assertions?

    3. Avatar No Clue says:

      I frankly doubt either party promised the cab would not be on the pavement. At most BT or the council probably said they would “TRY” to make sure it did not block a pavement etc. and now the statement has been manipulated by the complainers to accusations of one or both parties “PROMISED” it would not be on the pavement.

      I doubt they can show one letter or anything in writing from the council or BT that states categorically the cabinet will “NOT” be placed on a pavement.

  14. Avatar john eccles says:

    these people always come out of the woodwork they have nothing better to do than complain if it wasn’t this it would be something else ie colour of paint on a building in the village or something, BT should remove it & all telegraph poles etc & tell them to use carrier pigeons 😉

    1. Avatar fastman2 says:

      there are a number of cabs in the commercial deployment that will now not be deployed due to objection so or issues or other thinkgs such as continual parked cars on the DSLAM site

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