Summary box: Telecom rollouts spawn unloved boxes
THE ISSUE: New utility boxes are popping up in neighborhoods as cable and phone companies race to offer advanced video, Internet and phone services. Often residents don't want the boxes, which can be nearly as large as refrigerators, on or near their front yards.
THE FIGHT: A San Francisco neighborhood group's opposition to AT&T Inc.'s U-verse cabinets prompted the phone company to back down last month, at least temporarily. In another example, residents of Lower Makefield Township, Pa., are at odds with Comcast Corp. over permits for its 50 utility boxes.
POTENTIAL SOLUTION: AT&T is taking a more collaborative approach in some cities. The phone company agreed to pay Springfield, Ill., $1,500 for each U-verse cabinet it installs, to defray the cost of landscaping. In Santa Rosa, Calif., AT&T voluntarily relocated utility boxes when asked by city officials.