" 1) They are unarguably butt-ugly.
" 2) They're not guaranteed not to hum and buzz.
" 3) They'll be graffitti magnets for sure, especially in a city
" 4) And mostly, city sidewalks are for _walking_, and for social
" interactions; and not for the kind of ugly over-sized clutter
" represented by these boxes.
" I hope San Jose hangs tough.
While I hate Death Star as much as or more than anyone, I have to
disagree about the premise that infrastructure buildings are so bad.
Today, there's no spot for the buildings, because there wasn't a
particular need in the past. However, there's a need now. There's
some things that you can look at, responding point by point to your
1) They are ugly. I think they ought to take that into consideration
when looking at how to resolve this issue. If they get it out of
sight or make it shaped different, then that could go away. But they
aren't super ugly in my experience.
2) If they humm and buzz, then they ought to be located away from
sleep, rest, and concentration (office) areas.
3) Graffiti is a problem, and the solution could be solved by putting
them out of reach, or if that is not available, by continually
4) There's usually enough space that you can find someplace to put the
boxes without causing big blockages in sidewalks. If they are
blocking sidewalks, then they shouldn't be allowed to.
All this can be solved by making smaller subunits that sit on poles
that only have a portion of the existing boxes in them. For
underground areas, underground vaults could be built. Since that
might be a flood hazard, then they could rent space from private
property owners in the area.
The more I think about it, the usual solutions to this problem are
fully available to modern ISPs: fiber can be spliced and moved around
to whatever property owners are renting out that month, and it can
also be put on umbilical cords that could raise up out of the ground
for underground vaults. Coax is similar: one more connection but you
just run it to whatever neighbor allows you in. Furthermore, in both
fiber and coax, the headend can be further away -- single mode fiber
can go for miles extra, and coax allows some maneuverability (it's not
as much as fiber!). But, old-fashioned twisted pair is simply maxed
The equipment needed to squeeze the rest of the product out of the
twisted pairs takes more room than the simpler coax and even simpler
fiber. That means it takes more space.
So, actually, it seems like a technological deficiency. I think this
means we ought to introduce market forces to the U-Verse boxes: sure,
AT&T, you can put them there, but you have to pay for them according
to their true costs to the society and to the immediate neighbors; buy
the houses that it disturbs the quietness of, at market prices and
moving costs; pay for the reduction in value of the street for the eye
sores; compensate the neighbors for the medical cost of having to walk
around the boxes rather than right by them, in cases where they
actually block sidewalks in such a way that you cannot pass them.
Which begs the question, are you really that fat? Most of those boxes
allow you to walk past them.