San Francisco vs. AT&T and the Battle of the U-Verse Utility Boxes

I was born and raised in ‘The City’ aka San Francisco. I still have a fondness for the area, even though I have relocated. I also have quite a few friends, family and acquaintances that I stay in contact with over the years, so I generally keep in touch with what is happening in the Bay Area.

One of the hot topics of conversation is the battle going on between San Francisco residents and AT&T over the placement of approximately 800 utility boxes that need to be installed for U-Verse service. Opponents state that the utility boxes are an eyesore to the landscape and wonder why AT&T cannot bury the boxes underground. Proponents do not care about aesthetics and want the fast broadband service that U-Verse offers.

One would think that since San Francisco is located in the center of one of the largest technology hot-spots in the world, this should be a non-issue. But neighborhood advocates are up in arms over the proposal and promise a battle in the courts over this issue.

What is humorous about this dispute is that there are people across the U.S. who would welcome fast broadband access with the utility boxes installed. So while AT&T is trying to cater to a small group of activists, who would have most likely been against the cable cars when they were proposed, I have just one question: Why bother?

This is the same city that refused to work with Google, when that company offered free Wi-Fi citywide. The SF board of supervisors placed so many contingencies on the placement of cell towers, offering of better services to certain areas, plus faster speeds, that Google and Verizon pulled out of the deal.

It will never cease to amaze me how some folks can reject the newest technology while others wait hopelessly to just get rid of their old dialup connection.

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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Jsafire

    Interesting. AT&T did not install any new boxes in my neighborhood to support U-verse (and we do have it.) Though, since this neighbor hood is only 20-25 years old, maybe the existing boxes were big enough. SF is a different story.

  • Techgeek564

    The reason why, not to intentionally attack any group, is that a lot of people there who have nothing to do have fun complaining when really they should be finding something better to do instead of ending up on TruTV’s World’s Dumbest Protestors. If they would just accept things, then I’m sure there would be more people there than there are now.

  • Bryon Bella

    I can see why these boxes are being protested if you have seen any of the pictures they are huge. I wouldn’t want to put up with the construction that will lay all of the fiber optic lines either if there isn’t already some laid down. My DISH Network employee service uses only one small dish for HD which is less cumbersome for the streets and many times it is in the back of the house anyway.