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Disabled Man Furious Over BT’s FTTC Broadband Street Cabinet Placement

Monday, March 9th, 2015 (8:16 am) - Score 2,927
bt rural fttc street cabinet

Over the years the placement of BT’s (Openreach) superfast broadband (FTTC) capable street cabinets have occasionally caused anger among NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard), a lot of it unwarranted, but sometimes there may be a stronger case for adjustment.

One such example came at the start of this year when BT built a 5ft high street cabinet directly in front of a village war memorial in Fochriw, Wales. In fairness, there was already a huge phone box right next to it and their planning work for the cabinet was conducted before the memorial itself had been erected. Still, on this occasion, BT’s Openreach engineers agreed to move the box.

But how strong does a case for movement need to be before it’s taken seriously and a change made? At present that remains unclear. Meanwhile a “new” example of tricky placement has emerged after a disabled pensioner, James Godman, who lives on White Hart Lane in Portchester (Portsmouth, England), complained that a cabinet which BT installed over two years ago is causing him problems.

The story goes that Mr Godman wanted to convert his front garden into a driveway because he’s not allowed to park at the back of his house (double yellow lines etc.). Apparently he needs the space in order to exit his own vehicle and so that family members / home carers can assist him.

The trouble is that Openreach have installed the cabinet, which incidentally occurred all the way back in 2012 while Godman was on holiday, right in front of his drive and in so doing have made it difficult for two cars to park. Others further up on the same road have in the past reported similar experiences with cabinet placement.

James Godman said:

There was no notice given. It could have been put on the boundary line. If it would’ve been put half-on, half-off then there would not have been a problem. It was thoughtless act. They could’ve just moved it a further metre-and-a-half and there would not have been any problem. It has made life very awkward.”

The current planning rules, outside of strict conservation areas, have over the past few years been relaxed in order to help the roll-out of superfast broadband and the vast majority of people benefit from that. The land that BT uses is also public property and the operator does not need to personally inform home owners ahead of such work.

In this instance Godman says that he’s never spoken to BT about the problem, which is surprising, and it’s unclear why the situation has only come to light after several years. In response a spokesman for BT said that they conduct “robust planning” in order to determine “the best possible location to provide maximum service” and that the related cabinet complies with all the relevant regulation.

Although it’s unlikely cabinets will reallocated once installed, homeowners and residents can of course make a complaint to Open Reach who will investigate,” said the telecoms giant. We can certainly see some of Godman’s point of view on this one, although the fact that several years have past makes it unlikely that BT would move it (generally they only need to leave room for one car entry point).

Note: The picture in our article isn’t the cabinet itself, just a similar example.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones

    If I’m reading the newspaper report correctly, it appears that the drive was built after the cabinet had been installed. If so, I think it’s a bit tricky to anticipate what people might do.

  2. Avatar fastman2

    each cab would have hads to have been lodged with the local authority and notification to be given for highways checks — so nothing must have been on the radar

  3. Avatar FibreFred

    So what is the moral of the story then? Don’t place street furniture in front of someones home on land they (the homeowner) do not own just in case they might want to drop their kerb at some point in the future?

    • Avatar dragoneast

      First lesson in life: Life isn’t fair.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      Doing a bit of stalking with Google and Streetview, then the drive was not there in May 2012 (not was the FTTC box). There was a single gate on the left side of the property, right next to a streetlamp on the boundary. The old green box is to the left of the streetlamp (in front of another property), and I guess they place it where they did as it’s close to a power supply from the streetlamp and the PCP. The entrance path to the front has been relocated to the right of the property.

      There is a service road behind, and several houses have got standing areas in their back garden, but that particular property has a whole mess of sheds and outbuildings, which is why I assume he put the parking area in the front.

      Whilst the main road has double yellow lines, there’s a side road just three doors down (off which the service road runs), and that has not parking restrictions. It’s a fairly short walk for somebody able-bodied. This looks like an inconvenience (for his helper) rather than a life-or-death issue.

      You do wonder where he used to park his car before he put the drive in (which doesn’t yet have a dropped kerb).

  4. Avatar Enki

    Might be just my ordered mind. However, it would look better if it had been positioned on the boundary of the property’s.  

  5. Avatar Jason

    Ridiculous place to put it a older cabinet in road at number 279 has been placed between properties (half and half like the resident would had probably liked more) see people can still access their property. In typical modern day BT fashion the idiots did not think first. As for placing one right in front of a war memorial like they did in wales that was beyond stupid, that shows contempt to those that fought for this country, without them the BT idiots wouldn’t be bunging cabinets anywhere.
    Disgusting!

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