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back to article Wealthy Kensington & Chelsea residents reject BT fibre cabinets

BT has been forced to withdraw its plans to plonk 108 fibre optic cabling cabinets on the streets of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The council rejected 96 of the proposals put forward by BT, City AM reports. The national telco had planned to install fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology so it could offer about …


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  1. andy mcandy

    they can put one or two in my village if they like.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Radnage and surrounding would love to take theirs

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Looks like you will be more likely to get it!

      We have a few of the cabinets for BT Fibre around Stortford and if I am honest they look like all their other cabinets they have put in for the past 30 or so years. NTL plastered the streets with their plastic boxes in the same fashion and BT need to be able to compete with Virgin on speed.

      On the good side it'll give kids more stuff to jump.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I suppose they don't need it, they have servants to run around for them.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all residents

    I am a sometime resident there, although not a wealthy one, so maybe the headline doesn't refer to the bit of RBKC where I live. I did not know about the plans (and I do scan the planning letters that I do get from the council) but I would have supported them wholeheartedly. I shall certainly be writing to my councillor to complain. Yes I can get alternatives (unlike the unlucky people in the countryside) but for business reasons dont particularly want Virgin Media as my supplier.

    1. JohnG

      Re: Not all residents

      If you don't Virgin Media, Hyperoptic have indicated that they are happy to fill any gap left by BT in RBKC. Hyperoptic are offering fibre with speeds up to 1G without any boxes in the street.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They should have planned to disguise them as trees or something, appropriate to the environment. Or considered the deployment of bungs.

    1. Panzerbjørn

      Re: Creativity

      I was thinking the same thing. Surely they can be made to look like they fit in...

    2. David Ward 1

      Re: Creativity

      If that is the case the residents should pay for it, not BT and by extension their customers..

    3. burnard

      Re: Creativity

      Are you going to pay for that?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Creativity

        I've seen them. They are ugly as sin. I can't blame the council for rejecting them. In the good old days, they'd make public utility cabinets look like little park-keeper's houses and site them in the numerous greens and gardens. There's a couple of big ones at the end of my road in a park that they put there in the 1920s when they moved the gas, water and electricity points away from a junction they thought they might have to enlarge in the near future (they didn't).

        1. leexgx

          Re: Creativity


          people like you are ones who stop these types of expanding

          I guess you also one of the oldies that ask for speed bumps as well down your road

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Creativity

      They had already successfully installed 3 new exchanges by disguising them as Range Rovers.

    5. Number6

      Re: Creativity

      Given the location, wouldn't they have to disguise the cabinets as 4x4s?

  4. andy gibson

    Street sited?

    Genuine question - do they actually need to be sited at street level? Is there any reason they couldn't be put underground ?

    1. deains

      Re: Street sited?

      I imagine it'd just cost too much, both to install and to maintain. The point of them being above ground is so that BT engineers can easily reach them to patch cables and so forth.

      1. Nuke

        @Deains - Re: Street sited?

        To Hell with BT. Usually they get a thoroughly deserved arse-kicking in these discussions - why not today?

        And no, I don't live in K&C, but this applies anywhere.

        There is no good reason at all why this stuff cannot be put underground. Mains electrical junctions are underground. Gas junctions are underground. Water connections are underground. Around Bristol, the fibre and its connections put in 10(?) years ago are underground. Many existing copper telcom connections are underground.

        But BT want this chance of some new installations to save themselves from, what? - lifting a manhole cover rather than hinging a door open? Are they all pussies these days? Go to Hell, BT.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Deains - Street sited?

          > Go to Hell, BT.

          I'm sorry, but they can't do that - it would mean going underground.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Deains - Street sited?

          "There is no good reason at all why this stuff cannot be put underground. "

          Agreed - but the way we put stuff underground at the moment is insane. Dig up the road/pavement, bury the pipe or cable in the mud, relay road/pavement, and repeat all over again when the next thing comes along. *

          A common-sense approach would be to lay future-proof accessible ducts under the pavement that can carry many pipes and cables. Sadly it will never happen

          * We do the same thing in our houses by burying cables and pipes in plaster. Basically our civil engineering is still playing in the mud

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @nuke Re: @Deains - Street sited?

          How often do gas, water and copper have to be maintained?

          Hint, a lot less than active comms gear in a cabinet. Copper, fibre, gas piping and electricity cabling all tend to sit there for forever and a day without needing maintenance unless they get a bad case of Irish rust.

    2. Mike_1727

      Re: Street sited?

      Drainage, cabling and pipework may well be an issue, but apart from that I don't see why not. It would cost a *lot* more though.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Street sited?

      Yes, the health and safety PC brigade dont want the engineers getting themselves hurt whilst trying to do the job they get over paid for, they might sue BT for sending a claustrophobic engineer into a pit, just like we had one turn up here that refused to do the call as with his fear of heights "he would not come up to the 12th floor in our glass sided lifts" and H&S ruled he couldnt be made to use the stairs instead

    4. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Street sited?

      Indeed. Am currently working in Spain and all of their infrastructure tends to go underground; pipes, substations, telephone concentrators, etc. in a few places there are poles too.

      The thing is that this costs more, so companies would rather stick them on the pavement instead (and sorry if you are in a wheelchair, or have a pushchair/pram).

    5. streaky

      Re: Street sited?

      "Is there any reason they couldn't be put underground"

      You'd have to seal them, this is high voltage equipment and most ducts are flooded when it rains. I'd say it's probably cost prohibitive and if one council doesn't want them they can stay in the 30's. Don't blame BT one bit.

    6. Don Constance

      Re: Street sited?

      It would certainly be impractical to site them underground. Apart from the access issues the kit inside those cabinets generates a LOT of heat and have to be actively ventilated. Fully equipped when you open the door to the active side it's like opening an oven. They also contain mains voltage which means they have to be sealed against water ingress. Difficult to ventilate a hole in the ground and stop the rain getting in!

      Under the streets of most large cities is already more congested than the surface and I expect this borough would be a prime example.

      The cabinets need to be within 100m of the existing copper cross-connexion cabinet which, along with routing the tie cables between them does limit the location. As someone who works on FTTC I'm well aware that this can lead to some awkwardly sited cabinets! Often though this is done to maintain a minimum width of footway (when closed) to allow the passage of pushchairs/wheelchairs etc.

      I've often wondered whether some could be sited inside adjacent properties but that's almost certainly a logistical, financial, and legal minefield :-(

  5. Sir Runcible Spoon


    Perhaps if they had a few more burnt out cars* left in their borough a couple of fibre cabinets won't seem quite so bad.

    *Bentleys - it is Chelsea.

  6. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Oh dear how sad

    Send the installation engineers down my way. They're already over a year late.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    spare FTTC kit

    ok then so the well-heeled don't want the cabinets and will presumably miss out on FTTC at this stage. So come-on BT let's have them in my area where the average speed is 3mbit and the local exchange has no plans for FTTC.

  8. JetSetJim Silver badge

    So plonk this borough at the arse end of the priority list...

    ...and let other folks who are more willing to get FTTC deployed have a chance instead

  9. Kebablog

    The Stechford (brum) exchange could do with a bit of BT love. We don't care too much about the size of cabs, you should see what Birmingham Cable (now Virgin) left.

  10. wowfood

    le sigh

    I can't believe people are so arrogent sometimes. I'm talking mainly about the fact BT refused to cooperate with the councel. I can't help think it went ike this

    "Well, the only way to do FTTC woudl be with one of our cabinets. It looks like this here's the dimension"

    "It looks ugly and its too big, shrink it down to half the size and paint it beige"

    "Well... We COULD paint it beige, but we can't feasably shrink it to half size"

    "No, half size or you can't do it"

    "I'm saying that right now it is impossible to cut them down to half their current size"

    "Why won't you cooperate"

    "We're trying, but this just isn't possible"

    "Stop being so stubborn and just shrink down the size of the cabinet"


    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: le sigh

      This is K&C you know - the borough that has something like 8 times as many parking permits than parking places.

      It's not BT being un co-operative - more like K&C being thier usual selves.

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: le sigh

      Then what's stopping BT from negotiating private agreements on people's private land to do the same? It's quite easy to do this (companies do it all the time for mobile phone masts, etc.), doesn't need council approval (at least, nowhere near as much and can you really object to someone on private land much?) but just a little extra paperwork. And those landowners geeky enough around there would probably be in like a shot if they were given, say, one free fibre.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: le sigh

        I imagine a good chunk the residents sit on the required council boards. I am surprised that some enterprising chap doesnt charge "rent" for a junction box in their servants quarters.

  11. Eponymous Cowherd


    I have no problem with people protesting and campaigning against things based on genuine evidence that the object of their ire is dangerous / damaging to the environment, etc, etc.

    The problem with NIMBYs is that they first decide they don't like something, then hunt around for evidence to support their personal dislike, then make an inordinate amount of noise to get whatever they dislike stopped, irrespective of how it would benefit the (silent) majority.

    NIMBYs, self-serving arseholes, the lot of them.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: NIMBYs

      A friends has a cable modem green box outside his fence (back garden). In hot weather you can certainly hear the fans whirring away and you can hear it with your window open at night so they do make annoying sounds. That being said this is a countryside environment where you do get quiet so probably not as common as the articles locations.

  12. jason 7

    A classic example...

    .. of the reality gap and a small subset of the population having a different set of priorities.

    "Broadband? Why do I need that I'm loaded!" "Don't we get ours through Fortnam's?"

  13. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    "Historic Streetscape"?

    Not around here it's not. Maybe I work in a different K&C, all we have is dogshit. I'm starting to think the only fibre around here is fed by the residents to their dogs.

  14. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Historic streetscape?

    Kensington and Chelsea are pleasant enough, but I think "historic" is stretching things.

    The simple answer, of course, is to disguise the cabinets as parked cars. That's what all the streets in RBKC are already lined with.

  15. Tony S


    = "Build Absolutely Not Anywhere Near Anything"

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I live in a conservation area in central Reading. It's the councils flagship area, which features small to medium sized Victorian red-brick terraces and some really large sandstone town houses. All of these buildings have a minimum of a preservation order, some are listed grade two, the churches are grade one. We've just had BT put the new greenboxes in and there hasn't been a single complain or query raised at the local Pub (centre of the community) and we're all shoutey middle class real-alers. The point is that while we all live in houses that are over a hundred years old, no-one thinks that they live in a museum, some things need to change - we need telephony services, there is no alternative to the greenbox and they can be put in less conspicuous places. However but we don't allow satellite dishes on the front of the houses, because they're ugly and if you need satellite TV, you can just stick it on the back of your house on a pole.

  17. Graham 25

    Why bother ?

    Just don't install the new FTTC systems at all and have a nice set of the objection letters to hand, and every time someone tries to order a new, faster line, send them a copy of the objection and ask the requester to sort a few of these folks out.

    No reason why an operator should increase its cost base because the locals 'do not like the look of something'.

    Next thing the locals will object to will be cars older than 12 months old or anything that doesn't require a second mortgage to insure.

    1. leexgx

      Re: Why bother ?

      problem is its likely that 5-10 residents or an bunch of oldies complained that sit on the council board in that area are saying no for all 15,000-30,000 proprieties that are connected to that exchange that mite Want FTTC 4 years ago

      I be peeved at my local council as they likely not see fast-normal internet now for the next 10 years now, as BT got better things to do then try an get an council to allow the install to happen

  18. Dr. Mouse

    Fair enough

    "Eurgh! The boxes are ugly, you can't use them!"

    "Fine, we won't. Enjoy your slow broadband."

    It is pure NIMBYism. Just like the people who shout for more wind farms until you put them in an area they like. Let 'em do without (or pay significantly more)!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fair enough

      I'd say it's more like bananaism - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.

    2. Just Thinking

      Re: Fair enough

      NIMBYism usually refers something which is beneficial to the wider population but has an adverse effect on one local area. Most of us are NIMBYs when it comes down to it. If they build something bad near your home it's a double whammy - it spoils your home life but you can't move because you are suddenly in negative equity. I would protest like hell and find any excuse for them not to do it to me, to do it to someone else instead, and so would most of you.

      This is different - if the people in a particular borough genuinely* hate these boxes so much that they would rather stay with slow broadband, then that's their choice isn't it? It doesn't affect the rest of us, why be sniffy and say they should go back to dial-up? Let them keep their existing connection if they prefer, that's local democracy. It might even be rational if having the boxes bring house prices down.

      *depends whether it is genuine of course. If most people want fibre and it is just a few overly influential luddites stopping it, get together and make some noise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fair enough

        There's a bit of a difference between a waste processing plant or a nuclear power station being built next door and a 4 foot tall green box being plonked on the pavement though. It's hardly going to have an adverse effect on property prices for more than a few days, even at the current rate of property value growth.

        This is NIMBYism pure and simple. If they want 'pretty' boxes and fast broadband then they can discuss how much they should pay BT to come up with an aesthetically pleasing solution.

  19. Steve Evans

    Have fun on your super-highway B road.

    "Perhaps one of its competitors will step into the role."

    Let me see... Who else provides cables to the premises? Oh, that'll be Virgin Media...

    Good luck with that idea if the road isn't already cabled.

  20. Ioannis

    Meh. It obviously shows how unnecessary fast access is for the people who have objected, so screw them and their au-pairs and traffic-shape the whole f*ng borough to oblivion and give the rest of us the spare backhaul bandwidth.

    1. leexgx

      again most likely was only 10 or less people (Old maybe) that did that had influence on the local council that do not care or/and do not Own an computer

  21. The last doughnut

    What difference does it make when the pavement is already covered by an army of bins per household?

    1. John Riddoch

      Depends if it's anything like New Town in Edinburgh - they steadfastly refuse to have any kind of bin on the street because it would spoil the place. So, instead, bags are left out. Which the gulls pick over and spread the garbage all over the pavement.

      Admittedly, in Edinburgh's case, it is a Unesco Heritage site and they usually use the threat of losing that to prevent any kind of progress. There's pretty much zero double glazing in Edinburgh centre due to the planning regs.

  22. Fred M

    Could be worse

    At least you can make phone calls. Down in Reigate my local MP (who doesn't live in the area) proudly announced how he'd stopped the installation of an "unsightly" mobile phone mast. Screw the fact that some people might like to make a phone call once in a while.

  23. John Sturdy

    What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

    What kind of processor do they have in these things --- ENIAC?

    Considering the amount of computing power you could squeeze into, say, the base of a lamp-post, it seems strange that they're still using cabinets large enough for people to notice.

    Or maybe it is a huge solidly-packed mass of throbbing solid-state circuitry, because of all the MI5 / MI6 / GCHQ tap technology that has to be included?

    1. Bob H

      Re: What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

      There is a picture from inside one here:

      This is a Rutland Telecom one which is different but follows similar principles:

      A good explanation of what goes in:

      They probably need to contain a decent UPS as well because if there is any active component on the voice line it needs to be sustained during a power outage for emergency reasons.

      1. leexgx

        Re: What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

        Phone cable is still connected pass-thou to the Main exchange so Phone Services would still work as long as the Phone exchange has power or UPS power still

        (Exchange <> FTTC cab <> House, no power at FTTC cab, only phone line would work)

    2. JaimieV

      Re: What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

      It's only partly to do with the size of the clever bit of kit, which has to go into the cabinet in addition to everything that was in there before. And what was in there before it's the wiring, which isn't shrinkable.

      1. Just Thinking

        Re: What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

        I would be pretty peeved if I lived in KC.

        But I think it is valid to ask, even if they have to be that size, why do they have to be so ugly?

        How much would it cost to have them available in a small range of different colours, so that the most sympathetic colour could be chosen for each location? I bet that colour would almost never be dark green.

        And could they not design it to look a little bit less like it was built by British Leyland in the 70s? Hell the old red phone boxes became an icon. Can't they put a tiny bit of style into these boxes?

    3. Nuke
      Thumb Up

      @John Sturdy - Re: What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?


      I have been acquainted with military aircraft electronics and there is a similar ridiculous situation. More "traditional" electronics, like the auto-pilot, get lots of space in a regular shape (like cuboid), and the auto-pilot designers refuse to relinquish any of it whatsover and have no incentive to cut it down. OTOH, when some new type of electronics comes along, it has to make do with the left-over tiny awkward shaped spaces like curved wedges - sometimes split between widely separated areas.

      If BT cannot get the size down, they should put it underground. Why should they be allotted public space anyway in what should be a highway, not a space for an unrelated fixed installation? At least the street lights that people keep mentioning are to do with the highway.

      Would BT be paying for this ground area?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @John Sturdy - What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

        I think putting things underground on a London street would be "tricky". How easy would it be to find a suitable box shaped space with no electricity, gas, water or sewage pipes in the way? How happy would residents be to put up with having the road and pavement shut for a week or so while the excavation and installation happens?

        Given that this kit presumably needs maintenance as well, the hole would either have to be big enough to allow technicians to get in there and access it - so your hole just got quite a bit bigger and more expensive and harder to site - or it has to be movable, via hydraulics or what have you.

        That feels instinctively like a recipe for much more expensive broadband and probably less reliable broadband too.

    4. Don Constance
      Big Brother

      Re: What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

      "Or maybe it is a huge solidly-packed mass of throbbing solid-state circuitry, because of all the MI5 / MI6 / GCHQ tap technology that has to be included?"

      That's not in the cabinets thats i... [muffled thud] [silence]

  24. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Police box

    Maybe they could "hide" the cab inside a blue plywood box-like shape, paint it blue and decorate it to look like a Victorian Police Box. That should fit into the "historic street furniture" they appear to love.

    In some cases, planning permission should be almost automatic as it would simply be restoring an historic item back onto a site where one previously existed.

    Icon, just in case one appears unexpectadly.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Police box

      Reminded me of this:

  25. MrHorizontal

    Where was the consultation?

    I'm a resident of RBKC. I cannot find any consultation or method of objecting this decision which seems to have been taken unilaterally by this council without due process or authority.

    I would much appreciate information on how to petition a formal objection on this decision.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Where was the consultation?

      I was told to get Norwich City council to look into anything I had to get a petition signed by a minimum of 150 residents.

      I did that (got 200 just in case), handed it in and then was asked a few weeks later to attend the main monthly council chambers meeting (Mayor presiding etc. ) to state my case in front of them all.

      I did so and then they just told me to f**k off basically.

      I then walked out.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Where was the consultation?

      " I cannot find any consultation or method of objecting this decision "

      Thats because you dont attend the correct lodge or rotarian club.

    3. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Where was the consultation?

      There's bajillions of them on the RBKC website. Search for application TE/11/03920 for one of them, for example. Alternatively go to and search for the proposal keyword of "cabinet" and you'll find 186 returns (some of which are for other things, too). "Openreach" is another good one to search for. To object, I'd first try emailing them on but they'll probably tell you to go away as I expect only the applicant can appeal.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe if they want them to fit in......

    ......they should just make them the same size and shape as a Range Rover.

  27. raving angry loony

    Revenge time.

    Let the rich wonks go back to dialup. Serve'em right.

  28. Why Not?

    Why so difficult?

    Get the firms that make the fancy bollards & bins to make a 'vintage' BT box. Or run a contest to design a new one.

    They are big enough, networked & powered you could sell advertising on them.

    Split the costs.

    Negotiate locations.

    BT your boxes are UGLY, do something about it.

    Don't worry about K&C they all have 3G in their range rovers.

  29. Zot

    Virgin Media doesn't have boxes everywhere, why does BT need them?

    There's a whole ring of VM cable around my town, with no boxes at all. I guess there must be something but it I can't see them. Why do BT need ugly boxes everywhere? I don't understand.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Virgin Media doesn't have boxes everywhere, why does BT need them?

      BT have to provide a universal service. That means they have to maintain wires into every single home in the land, even down small cul-de-sacs, mews, etc.

      Furthermore, there's a lot of old crap still on their network, including many old phone lines, fax lines, Telex lines, ISDN systems, and so on. The last major 'upgrade' of the BT network took place when they made the switch to electronic exchanges that could support the newfangled "touch-tone" dialling. This was around the time the GPO was privatised and BT was born.

      In older exchanges, many old, unused, wires are still in place. We can miniaturise electronics as much as we like, but an electrical wire isn't going to get noticeably thinner any time soon, and an exchange box can easily service a thousand phone lines.

      Virgin Media don't have this universal obligation.

      I lived in SE London for a few years in a residential area. Every surrounding street had cable, but the short crescent I lived on didn't. And still doesn't. You'd be surprised at how much of London still isn't connected to cable. (But, if you're British yourself, probably not all that surprised.)

      Some of BT's older exchanges were originally built underground, rather than in roadside cabinets. You can see the old GPO inspection covers everywhere, and I can't be the only one here who remembers the days when GPO engineers would set up a stripy red-and-white tent on the pavement to protect them and the equipment from the weather during maintenance.

      1. Test Man
        Thumb Up

        Re: Virgin Media doesn't have boxes everywhere, why does BT need them?

        YES! I remember the stripy tents!

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. feanor

        Re: Virgin Media doesn't have boxes everywhere, why does BT need them?

        "BT have to provide a universal service."

        They have to provide a universal service. Apparently the small print didn't specify that it couldn't be a universally rubbish service!

        1. TheManCalledStan

          Re: Virgin Media doesn't have boxes everywhere, why does BT need them?

          Telephony service is USO, not BB. The telephony service they provide is perfectly good...

          Of course BT could FTTP everywhere and that way it would only take ~20-25 years for roll-out to take place on the scale that people would like... instead of giving people 2/3rds an improved (not ideal, but better) in a 5 year period.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Virgin Media doesn't have boxes everywhere, why does BT need them?

      Virgin does have boxes - they're dark green and look very much like the new BT ones. Cable's access topology is different, it's more efficient if you expect to be entering only a proportion of passed properties as opposed to nearly all of them, the assumption made when GPO/BT's topology was designed.

  30. Nigel 11

    Is this the same RBKC

    Is this the same RBKC that two or three decades ago, demolished its old town hall building in the middle of the night when it heard that the folks trying to preserve this attractive and historical piece of architecture might manage to get it listed?

    Of course, that was when RBKC was going to benefit by selling the site to a property developer. Wonder who else benefitted?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kensington and Chelsea, digital ghetto, can't wait for them to start wailing.

  32. feanor

    Absolutely bloody ironic. BT absolutely point blank refuse to provide us poor yokels out in't countryside with anything better than a piece of string and two tins, yet the toff''s don't want their already space age communications upgraded cos the cabinets don't suit the aesthetic atmosphere of the neighbourhood.

    Private companies providing national services? I don't bloody think so....

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >There's a whole ring of VM cable around my town, with no boxes at all

    You just dont notice them, they are green and look very similar to BT's green boxes, such that most people assume they are BT.

    1. M Gale

      Re: ummm

      Pretty much this, yes.

      I know all of the VM (previously BlueYonder, previously C&W) boxes in this street, because they are the only boxes in the street. BT's stuff is either underground (under aforementioned GPO manholes) or stuck up on poles.

      It's also ancient to the degree of barely being able to get broadband, and the location is smack in the middle of four exchanges, on the distant edge of them all. Joy.

  34. kain preacher

    To ever one asking why don't they just stick it under ground it's simple. In order to put these things under ground you have to build a vault big enough for a man to climb in and walk around. Do you think the cites would allow BT to tear up the street to put these under ground. We are not talking about simple trenching that could be done in a few hours. That would mean tearing up lots of streets to put them underground.

    1. Bob H

      Or you could make them rise up for maintenance out of a pit, like a rack sliding keyboard. The biggest issue is avoiding it becoming like a sump and short circuiting all the electronics.

  35. Alan Brown Silver badge

    'vintage' BT box

    How about one of the tall red ones?

  36. Danny 14 Silver badge


    TBH most probably wont care. I imagine if they want decent broadband they would simply get easynet to duct ethenet to their house. 10k install and 5k a year would be a nice business write off I imagine.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    go underground to spite them

    if they really don't want indivisible they could easily go underground, the council need to stump up the 100k per box it would no doubt cost as it will mean the junction and then access to said junction so a pretty big hole. All that ground work should only have the the kings road closed what 3 weeks, not to mention all the back roads? Seems a reasonable pay off to me.

  38. Colin Miller

    According to

    a standard cabinet is 1.15m high and 1.37m wide (3' 8.5" x 4" 6'), the new ones are 1.6m tall and 1.2m wide (5' 3" x 3' 11").

    If BT turned the new cabinets on their sides, it wouldn't look as large. Granted it would need a redesign of the its internal layout.

  39. druck Silver badge

    Location Location Location

    The town council planning committee on which I sit has no objection to the boxes as long as they do not overly restrict access on the pavement or other facilities. However, it is often very difficult for us to determine this given the inaccurate and misleading information provided by BT. Quite often we receive a written description of the location, a photo-shopped picture of the new cabinet showing it further along the street, and on inspecting the site we find the sprayed marks where the engineers intend to put it, somewhere else again!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Location Location Location

      Then dont have it!

      If you dont want fibre, BT should invest the cash where real people do want it.

      Bloody counilors! Fat, ugly, selfish posh boys who think they know best. Bollox!

      They are no better than peados in a playground in my opinion.

      Council planning committees NEVER get anything right. They always balls projects up and waste huge amounts of money doing so. (usually on all their tea and biscuits)

      I'm so glad you dont represent me!

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: Location Location Location

        To reward your complete lack of faith in local democracy I'll be recommending the next BT cabinet is positioned right in front of your driveway, and putting your council tax up for the privilege.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "BT has been forced to withdraw its plans to plonk 108 fibre optic cabling cabinets on the streets of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea."

    The posh tarts don't deserve it.

    Plow the money into the cities of real people. Let the posh tarts do with dial up!

  41. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Ahh NIMBYs

    As long as they people in Kent and Chelsey are happy without having fiber, fine. They just better not complain at the same time about the quality of internet access they have. That's what NIMBYs do here in the US --- the same people will reject any kind of (as they call it) "cell phone tower", while simultaneously complaining to anyone that'll listen that they have crap cell phone service. Or similar with the cabinets -- there've been towns that didn't allow cabinets, then are genuninely surprised that they can't get good service.

    Burying? Please. That's a huge cost increase, I'm sure you don't want to pay like triple the phone and internet fees to cover the probably triple or more cost of installing the equipment buried -- if that was even possible. I'd guess the same NIMBYs who don't want cabinets won't allow all those roads to be torn up to bury either (even if it were physically feasible, which it sounds like it's not.)

  42. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Re: the size

    Regrading the size.. I think all that copper is the main factor.

    If a cabinet handles 50 lines, think of how much heat a DSL modem makes (not a huge amount but some) and multiply times 50. I don't know if it's still true, but it used to be the customer->cabinet data scheme used was simpler than the data scheme used cabinet->customer, to keep the cost of the end-user DSL equipment as low as possible (i.e. the DSL modem may use less power than the counterpart in the cabinet). If the cabinet was too miniaturized it'd simply melt. As a practical matter, several people have commented on these cabinets being hot, showing this actually does apply in practice.

    Besides whatever signal processing is needed (which I think could run cool), the cabinet would have 5 volt signalling times 100 wires (2 wires per phone line). If the cabinet provides voice, that uses a 48 volt signal. The voltages alone could be a big source of heat.

    Finally, there has to be enough physical space to be able to install those 100 wires (50 lines) into the cabinet (plus the fiber feeding it, although obviously that's not big). At least here in the states, there isn't just a row of 50 phone jacks in a cabinet like this, the copper wires are punched down onto this board. There has to be enough room for techs to work on it later if needed too, so for instance if your phone line goes bad they can see it's port 48, as opposed to just having a mass of wires all going into the unit, which, let's face it, is what would happen if it were all that small.

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