Brighton and Hove furious at BT cabinet installations

British Telecom (BT) has received a number of complaints from residents of Brighton and Hove after it installed fibre-optic cabinets which are much larger than the old telephone cabinets that were previously in place.

The cabinets, which are part of BT’s Openreach scheme designed to deliver high-speed broadband, are 1.8 metres tall, creating an eyesore for locals. In fact, it has upset people to such an extent that six conservation organisations have tried to halt the planning permission for them.

BT has been granted planning permission for a number of cabinets by the Brighton and Hove City Council, but 51 sites have not had their planning permission approved yet, reports Network World. This means that the conservation groups could block or delay the process.

The conservationists say that they are not against the cabinets being installed in general, recognising the need for high-speed internet access in the region, but they want BT to consult with them about it. They said that they are worried about “the lack of more general consultation and the impact that these monster cabinets could have, both within and outside conservation areas, if they are simply installed wherever Openreach finds most convenient.”

Brighton and Hove’s residents are not the only ones to complain about the ugly cabinets. The people of Muswell Hill, one of the first regions to be served by BT’s new broadband service, also complained about them last year.

This is creating a big problem for BT’s rollout of fibre-optic broadband throughout the UK. It plans a £2.5 billion programme to deliver high-speed internet access to two-thirds of UK residents. If enough people complain about the installations, however, it may hinder the process, which could mean delays on BT’s 2015 deadline.

In efforts to calm the angry residents BT said it recognises and appreciates the concerns raised and is “committed to working with local authorities to minimise the visual impact of the new street cabinets, and have done this successfully in other conservation areas.”