Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Paul Soglin: Waxing America: Mayor Dave Calls AT&T Boxes "Graffiti Magnets"

Paul Soglin: Waxing America: Mayor Dave Calls AT&T Boxes "Graffiti Magnets": "Mayor Dave Calls AT&T Boxes 'Graffiti Magnets'

Judith Davidoff has the story in today's Capital Times about Madison's unwillingness to allow AT&T free reign to plant its big video boxes all over the public rights-of-way:

More than 300 hulking, refrigerator-size 'graffiti magnets' could soon sprout in Madison yards if state lawmakers pass a controversial cable TV deregulation bill, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is warning.
'There would be hundreds of these boxes throughout the city,' Cieslewicz said in an interview this week. 'They would be on the street right-of-way and also in people's backyards. They are large -- five feet by four feet -- they make a visual statement and they could be graffiti magnets.'

Under current law, Cieslewicz said the city can prohibit AT&T from installing the boxes without a franchise agreement, such as the one the city has with Charter Cable.

But the city's veto power would be severely curtailed under the deregulation bill that has already passed the state Assembly.

'We wouldn't have much to say about it,' Cieslewicz said. 'AT&T could go in and start installing these things right after the legislation takes effect.'

What's worse, he said, is that the boxes are unnecessary.

'The only reason for them is that AT&T is trying to do this project on the cheap,' he said. 'They want to run fiber to the boxes, but then standard copper (lines) to the home. They need the boxes to transfer data. They could run fiber straight to the home which is what companies on the coasts are doing.'"


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