Monday, December 01, 2008

AT&T boxes irk Wilmette residents

November 27, 2008

Wilmette residents living near new AT&T equipment boxes are protesting the construction of cabinets they say are too large and obtrusive, but village officials say there's nothing they can do to stop the installations after the company won exemptions to state utility regulations to offer a new Internet-based video service.

AT&T has planned 43 'video ready access devices' throughout the village that will serve as junctions between the company's fiber optic system and homes subscribing to U-verse TV, a new service being billed as a high-power alternative to cable television.

Homeowners living near the new installations say they only recently learned about them, and believe the bulky cabinets will damage the appearance of their neighborhoods and diminish property values.
George Vincent, who lives on the corner of Seventh Street and Greenleaf Avenue, said he learned what was happening in recent weeks when he stopped to talk with a contractor installing a 5-foot by 12-foot concrete pad in the parkway near his home. It will ultimately hold a cabinet that is about 5 feet high, 2.5 feet wide and 4 feet long.

'This whole thing really stinks,' Vincent said. 'AT&T has cut some kind of deal in Springfield and I think it's going to devalue my property. It's on the town parkway but at the same token, why couldn't they put it underground or up in the alley where utilities belong?'"