S.F. groups block, for now, U-verse utility box construction

A coalition of citizens' groups hoping to block the installation of more than 700 AT&T (NYSE: T) U-verse utility boxes in San Francisco has scored a big win, at least for the moment, after a Superior Court temporarily blocked the telco from continuing its roll out until a pending lawsuit over the boxes' potential environmental impact is decided.

The city had green-lit the installations of the 32-cu.-ft. utility boxes that house the Video Ready Access Device (VRAD) equipment to deliver the Fiber to the Node (FTTN)-based service on public rights of way, but citizen groups protested and filed a lawsuit in August.

The groups--San Francisco the Beautiful, San Francisco Tomorrow, the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association, the Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association--contend the city should conduct a full environmental impact before AT&T installs more boxes. The groups worry the boxes will impede traffic, end up covered in graffiti and just don't belong on city sidewalks.

AT&T has balked, saying it doesn't need an impact study since it hasn't had to conduct them in any other California cities.

The boxes have been an issue in other communities as well, with citizens complaining about the "giant cable-type boxes" in Greensboro, N.C. In Illinois, before AT&T could complete its deployment of U-verse, it agreed to spend between $1,500 to $2,000 to surround the VRAD boxes with plants and trees in a number of the state's markets.

For more:
- see this SF Examiner post

Related articles:
Frisco VRAD battle continues
More protests about ‘those ugly boxes'
U-verse boxes draw more criticism
AT&T must get Connecticut residents' approval for U-verse boxes

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