After taking years to approve an alternative to Comcast's monopoly on crap cable TV and Internet service, the Board of Supervisors finally approved AT&T's Lightspeed network expansion yesterday. Meaning we'll soon have a new choice when selecting which provider to lease a DVRs from. It also means the clunky utility boxes that have been such a sticking point for Supervisors and neighborhood groups will start popping up on sidewalks as early as today.
AT&T has been working to bring the service to San Francisco since way back in 2006, but the communications giant had to make a few concessions and promises in order to win approval from the current Board of Supervisors. The Appeal's Chris Roberts explains how the company pledged to keep their graffiti-magnets clean:the Appeal's report:
...the telecom giant agreed to give neighborhoods advance notice of a cabinet installation, "look" for a non-sidewalk site such as an alleyway before building in the public right-of-way, move a cabinet or halt the installation if a neighborhood group or supervisor objects, pay $25,000 a year for graffiti removal, and hire 33 percent of workers on the project from within city limits.
They'll also be starting with a rollout of 495 of the utility boxes, the first of which is expected to appear near the Outer Richmond Safeway this week. AT&T will have to make an argument down the road for an additional 200 or so boxes if they decide they need them to complete their network.
Activists at SF Beautiful, the group that has caused the most friction for AT&T over the years, still aren't feeling it though. A former president of the group said the board "fell victim to AT&T's bluster" and points out that many of the concessions are already required by law.
On the other hand, we're looking at up to 410 channels and a DVR you can watch in any room! So, there really won't be any need to ever go outside anyway. The service is expected to be available in the next six months.