Feeds

Broadband minister's fibre cabinet gripe snub sparks revolt

Not in our backyard leafy historic streets

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

City of Westminster councillors are outraged by the new broadband minister's decision to cut red tape and hasten the arrival of on-street fibre-optic cable cabinets.

The bureaucracy-slashing move means telcos can install faster broadband connections without approval from local councils, which can prevent the placing of large green junction boxes outside Brits' front doors.

“We are concerned that the ability of local people to oppose commercial broadband boxes, of which some can be large eyesores, will be diluted by these proposals," said the Tory leader of Westminster City Council Philippa Roe.

"It is more important that councils work in partnership with broadband companies to locate infrastructure sensibly."

Her comments come after the UK government's new Culture Secretary, Maria Miller - who last week replaced Jeremy Hunt - confirmed that Brits would no longer be able to object to the arrival of "ghastly" cabinets outside their homes.

The department for fun's new broom has proposed that, in order to speed the upgrade of the nation's internet infrastructure, local councils' red tape should be sidestepped.

Tory party member Miller has even threatened to either legislate immediately following a consultation on that plan, or else to use existing powers to put an end to locals snapping at BT and other broadband service providers for seeking to plonk their fibre optic cabinets on residential streets.

"I would question why the government’s approach is needed at all - it will only result in a gradual and prolonged development across the UK rather than the big bang in broadband that the UK needs," sniffed Roe, whose ward is the wealthy patch of Knightsbridge and Belgravia.

She added that the City of Westminster is able to offer businesses, residents and tourists a decent broadband connection via various means including O2's "free" Wi-Fi zones in parts of the West End, biz projects such as Sohonet for the film industry and Hub Westminster for startups.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association is equally unimpressed by Miller effectively declaring war on NIMBYs upset about the "ugly" cabinets.

It said:

The government's proposals take the right away from people to have a say over six-foot high junction boxes outside their windows and gardens or poles and wires festooning their streets. Decisions on where to place broadband infrastructure must consider the impact on local environments rather than simply suit the convenience of companies and their engineers. Rushed and unnecessary roadworks to lay cables also risk costing council tax payers a fortune in repairs and, even when done properly, shorten the life of the roads.

Residents expect councils to protect their homes and make neighbourhoods nice places to live, and planning regulations exist to do just that. The drive to meet broadband targets shouldn't force poorly thought out knee-jerk measures that spoil local environments and needlessly damage roads. Government needs to encourage providers to work together to make better use of existing ducts and poles, rather than duplicating infrastructure.

®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.