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.