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AT&T sues San Francisco to keep U-verse utility boxes on sidewalks

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AT&T (NYSE: T) has filed a suit against San Francisco over its protest to the telco's proposed placement of utility boxes on city sidewalks that will house the VRAD equipment to support its U-verse broadband and IPTV service.

According to a KCBS Radio article, AT&T said they were thinking of filing a lawsuit if San Francisco's Board of Supervisors adopted proposed legislation that would allow the public to provide input on the placement of the boxes on private property.

This effort has been spearheaded by Scott Weiner, a member of the Board of Supervisors that unanimously voted last week to approve his legislation.

His legislation would require providers to find alternative areas to place utility boxes underground or in alleyways, force them to allow artwork on the boxes or pay for landscaping around them. In addition, AT&T and other utility companies installing new boxes would be required to propose various locations and hold a "public meeting as part of a 'pre-application' process so neighbors can weigh in ahead of time."

To date, AT&T has installed only about 200 of the 726 cabinets. The telco claims that the city has denied permits for 26 of the boxes without providing them with alternative locations, while taking over 60 days to rule on another 67 permits.

Battles between AT&T and San Francisco have been going on for a number of years. Amidst protest from a number of local community groups in July 2012, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson ruled that telco could install up to 726 U-verse utility boxes on the city's sidewalks. 

San Francicso is only one of several cities where it has faced opposition of the placement of its utility boxes to expand the U-verse service. Similar issues came up in both Greensboro, N.C., and Wheaton, Ill.

For more:
-  KCBS Radio has this article
- Broadband Reports has this article

Related articles:
San Francisco judge clears way for AT&T U-verse utility boxes
AT&T and Greensboro, NC residents fight over U-verse VRAD cabinet placement
AT&T and San Francisco square off on U-verse VRAD cabinet placement
AT&T ordered to stop U-verse buildout in San Francisco