San Francisco tells AT&T where to put its equipment cabinets

9 May 2014 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Some people in San Francisco seem determined to fight a last ditch battle against broadband infrastructure upgrades proposed by AT&T. San Francisco supervisors are considering a new ordinance that would put a dump truck load of restrictions in front of any request to put broadband equipment cabinets in the public right of way. One sample…

The following locations are disfavored, and the Department shall not issue a Surface-Mounted Facility Site Permit in these disfavored locations unless the Applicant can show that no other option is available:…On Public Right-of-Ways that the San Francisco General Plan has designated as being most significant to City pattern, defining City form, having an important street view for orientation or as having views that are rated “excellent” or “good”.

Translation: ha ha, we fooled you. There are no street views rated less than good. In fact, there are no streets rated good. Every view in San Francisco is excellent. Your chance of planting a box on a San Francisco sidewalk is only slightly better than getting our permission to reprocess plutonium in Union Square.

AT&T is not amused. It says the restrictions violate state law “10 different ways”. It certainly flies in the face of a state appeals court ruling earlier this month that basically said get over it, there’s so much stuff on San Francisco sidewalks already that a few hundred more boxes won’t matter.

To say the least, it’s counter productive for San Francisco. AT&T, or any other private sector investor, might put up with a lot to gain access to densely packed affluent customers, but only so much. Having been burned once, Google isn’t going back to The City (except to bus employees back and forth to Mountain View). With second tier cities like San Antonio opening the door wide, San Francisco can’t count on getting its share of AT&T’s – or anyone else’s – capital budget.