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Brighton broadband held up by 'monster cabinet' protest

BT's plans to introduce super-fast broadband exchanges in the Brighton and Hove area have met with resistance from local conservationist groups
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

Local conservation groups have opposed plans to install new BT broadband boxes that would bring super-fast broadband connections to areas of Brighton and Hove.

The plans to introduce new fibre-based broadband services to Brighton rely on the installation of new street cabinets that are larger than existing, copper-connectivity cabinets. However, due to the cabinets' size and appearance, the proposal is being opposed by five conservation groups based in and around Brighton.

The groups involved — the Regency Society, Montpelier and Clifton Society, Kemp Town Society, Regency Square Area Society, Brighton Society and Kingscliffe Society — banded together to send a letter to BT requesting consultation on the proposed installation.

"We are worried both about the lack of more general consultation and the impact that these monster cabinets could have, both within and outside conservation areas, if they are simply installed wherever Openreach finds most convenient", said the letter.

BT's Openreach department — which is responsible for the company's broadband infrastructure — has made several applications to install new fibre cabinets throughout the Brighton and Hove area, some of which have already been approved by Brighton Council, according to the paper.

"We do fully appreciate the concerns of the conservation and amenities committees regarding the siting of our super-fast broadband cabinets in certain parts of the city," a BT spokesperson said in response to the groups' concerns. "We are committed to working with local authorities to minimise the visual impact of the new street cabinets, and have done this successfully in other conservation areas."

This is not the first time that BT has encountered resistance over plans to introduce fibre cabinets, as residents of Muswell Hill in London complained in August 2009 over the size and placement of cabinets in conservation areas controlled by Haringey Council.

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