London locals object to BT's fibre cabinets

London locals object to BT's fibre cabinets

Summary: Residents of a conservation area in Muswell Hill have complained about the size of BT's fibre cabinets, which are part of a next-generation broadband pilot


BT's fibre-to-the-cabinet pilot in Muswell Hill has met with objections from some local residents, who have complained to Haringey Council that the cabinets are too large for their neighbourhood.

The company's trial of high-speed, next-generation broadband connectivity began at the start of July in the north London suburb and in the Cardiff suburb of Whitchurch. Around 49 fibre-ready cabinets have been installed in the Muswell Hill deployment, but around 10 of those are in a conservation area.

"Local residents' main objection regards the dimensions of the cabinets," a spokesperson for BT Openreach told ZDNet UK on Monday. "They are also in a conservation area, so there is general concern [there] about minimising street furniture."

Fibre-to-the-cabinet technology involves sending fibre-optic cables as far as the street cabinet, then relying on existing copper connections to hook up local homes and businesses. This approach contrasts with fibre-to-the-home technology, which does not use the existing copper connections at all, and is therefore a more expensive — if faster — way to provide next-generation broadband.

BT's spokesperson could not say whether or not BT had applied for planning permission before deploying the 1.8-meter-tall cabinets, but did suggest that the boxes' size was a function of fibre technology.

"The reason they are bigger is that they've got to accommodate more electronics than the [copper-based] broadband cabinets," the spokesperson said. "They've got to have active electronics in the cabinet to power the light down the fibre."

Haringey Council had not replied to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Topics: Broadband, Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Southerner's moaning again....

    Dammed if you do dammed if you don't, what earth are they moaning about they want real broadband but they don't like the cabs?!

    BT should just move the pilot to another area then, those cabs haft to be that size when you walk past one you'll realize this just by the sheer amount of heat that comes out from them.

    There's no buts or ifs about it if you want real speed then you need gutsy hardware, there'll be moaning about the noise next from the workmen. :s
  • Not only big but also noisy

    Cabinets are getting bigger, more needs to be put in, but the contents will shrink over time. Better design should also reduce the need for the pumping mechanisms which make some cabinets noisy as well as objectionably loud. Technologically, we can and will do better, but early adopters as ever pay the price. Complaint is a good thing, it drives improvements.

    Simon Anthony