IL: County prepares for telco boxes

Posted on November 22, 2007 - 12:44pm.

from: Kane County Chronicle

County prepares for boxes


A new state law allows AT&T to create a statewide cable service network, but residents and governments will be the ones dealing with the large utility boxes that the system requires.

Throughout the county, there are plans for the new boxes, which are more than 6 feet tall and will be placed either in public rights of way or on the properties of people who have made easement agreements with AT&T.

For a home to be able to get AT&T’s Lightspeed fiber-optic service, it must be within about 3,000 feet of a box, said Kurt Nika, Kane County division of transportation permitting chief. The plan is for Lightspeed to be available throughout the state.

“They’ll be in city right of ways, county right of ways,” said Mark VanKerkhoff of the Kane County Development Department. “They will be constructed.”

Lightspeed boxes have been going up for months in St. Charles. When all are complete, there will be about 30, Electric Superintendent Glynn Amburgey said. There have been several complaints from homeowners, complaints often resolved, he said.

“In those that I have been involved in, AT&T has been very good with working with the residents,” Amburgey said.

In addition to the size of the boxes, there are other concerns.

“It kind of sounds like a motor running all the time,” said Barbara Holzer, 53, of Nunda Township near Crystal Lake. “Maybe louder than an air conditioner, but that sort of a noise – like a humming.”

The Lightspeed box is 35 feet from her house, Holzer said. It technically is on her neighbor’s property, she said.

“It’s got huge signs on there that say high voltage, warning, danger, whatever,” she said. “Who’s going to want to buy a four-bedroom home other than a family and are they going to buy it with that thing there?”

AT&T hopes to compete for cable customers. Although most cable companies are regional, Lightspeed could be a choice for viewers throughout the state.

“From a consumer standpoint, we have a lot of people wondering why they can’t get the services their friends and neighbors get,” said Stuart Chapman of cable consultant firm Municipal Services Associates.

But now that the law allows statewide franchising, the county must see whether the local cable providers – Comcast and Mediacom – will go statewide as well before the current contracts are renegotiated, VanKerkhoff said.

Geneva and North Aurora were among a handful of municipalities that AT&T sued last year for allegedly halting Lightspeed by banning utility boxes in rights of way.

Geneva Information Technologies Manager Peter Collins said he was not sure whether the Lightspeed box permits previously submitted still were in play.

“They submitted some many, many moons ago, before they started to sue us,” Collins said.

– Permits for Lightspeed boxes in the Kane County right of way

Permits issued:

– Fabyan Parkway in front of the jail

– Big Timber and Tyrrell roads

– Burlington road and Long Shadow Lane

– Main Street (Batavia) and Nelson Lake Road

Permits under review:

– Tyrrell Road and Arrowhead Drive

– Empire Road and Kingswood Drive

– Randall and Red Gate roads

– Keslinger and LaFox roads

Source: Kane County Division of Transportation

Note: Permits are just for vicinity, not necessarily in right of way.

( categories: AT&T | ILLINOIS | State Franchises )