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Costa Mesa officials try to block AT$T 'eyesore'

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Created 01/15/2008 - 8:33am

from: OC Register [1]

Friday, January 11, 2008
Costa Mesa officials try to block 'eyesore'
AT&T wants to put scores of metal boxes on city streets, raising concerns about aesthetics.

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COSTA MESA – Plans to add scores of steel boxes to city streets for Internet access and television service are riling elected officials who are concerned about damage to neighborhood aesthetics.

AT&T, as part of its fiber optic U-Verse service, wants to install 113 metal cabinets on sidewalks throughout town. Twenty-six have already been added, but officials have halted progress on the remaining 87 boxes until a method of improving the boxes' appearance can be devised.

All those would join more than 150 telephone service boxes in Costa Mesa.

"It's a very, very difficult issue," said Peter Naghavi, acting director of public services. "They're not very pretty. They're not very pleasant-looking."

Normally officials try to place such equipment underground, but the technology being used is too delicate in this case, Naghavi said.

Costa Mesa can't block installation – state law allows companies to install required infrastructure for Internet and television services – but it can add restrictions to ensure blight doesn't result. It's possible the boxes could be painted or concealed with landscaped trellises.

"Clearly, some kind of screens or landscaping are an option because the boxes themselves are an eyesore," said Councilwoman Wendy Leece.

Meetings are set with company officials, but Naghavi predicted it will be several weeks before a resolution is reached. AT&T spokesman James Peterson said he could not immediately comment.

The U-Verse service promises lightning-fast Internet browsing similar to that provided by Verizon's Fios service and is capable of television service as well.

Contact the writer: 714-445-6683 or

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