All that copper over your head – that’s where the Internet lives, sort of.
How many wires can you count?
Ninth Avenue, the Sunset District of San Francisco:
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The hard-core NIMBYs at San Francisco Beautiful (our Comcast monopoly’s L’il Buddy) ended up going two for two yesterday in their crusade ensure that dial-up internet service is the best that some San Franciscans can get. That is, they won a stay from Superior Court Judge Harold Khan temporarily blocking the installation of AT&T sidewalk boxes and they’ll have no requirement to post a bond to keep their stay.
This is, of course, despite the fact that the Board of Supervisors recently approved the installation.
Let’s hear the reaction from AT&T Regional Vice President, Marc Blakeman:
“Residents across the City, as well as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, have voiced support for competition and choice when it comes to TV, high speed internet and digital phone service.
Despite today’s decision to issue a temporary stay, AT&T believes it ultimately will prevail in the litigation and it remains committed to bringing San Francisco a next generation IP network.”
Which, you know, sounds good to me, but I’m not a NIMBY.
So, when you see these existing boxes, which Judge Khan has no control over, what’s your reaction? Do you say, well there’s graffiti on a telephone box or an electricity box or a mail box so we shouldn’t have telephones and we shouldn’t have electricity and we shouldn’t have mail service? I don’t know.
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Let’s hear from the NIMBY side of things after the jump, but I warn you, it’s barely legible.
On It Goes…
Well, here it is, via Noe Valley SF, a Hyper-Local Guide to Noe Valley … With Attitude, it’s Supervisor Scott Wiener’s address to the NIMBY associations of District 8 regarding his approval of U-Verse Internet/TV/Phone service for San Francisco after all those years of delay.
See below – it goes on and on.
I myself don’t recall seeing too many AT&T boxes in the 415 with graffiti. The shots produced by the NIMBYs generally are from out of town / out of state. Anyway, here’s one of the genuine AT&T utility boxes already in town. It sort of has graffiti:
Via Eric Fischer – click to expand
Leave us begin:
From: Date: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 4:41 PM
Subject: My vote on the AT&T issue
I’m sending this email to a number of neighborhood association leaders and other involved folks in District 8, in order to explain my vote yesterday on the AT&T environmental appeal. I would appreciate it if you would forward this email to your boards, memberships, and neighbors who have an interest in this issue. The voters are entitled to an explanation of all of my votes (and I cast many each week), including votes as controversial as this one. People can agree or disagree, but they deserve an explanation.
I will start by saying that I struggled mightily with this issue. Like many of you, I do not like these boxes, or any of the utility boxes that are already on our streets. Part of me very much wanted to vote against AT&T and for an EIR simply because I dislike the boxes. But one of the commitments that I made to myself, and to the voters, was that I’m not just going to be a reactive elected official. I committed that I was going to be the kind of elected official who tried to find solutions to hard issues. I also committed to myself early on that I would not abuse CEQA by ordering EIRs where the law doesn’t support it simply because I have policy issues with the underlying project. As described below, ordering an EIR here probably would have been illegal and certainly would have fed into our City and State’s addiction to environmental review, with the effect that good projects (including public projects) are delayed, killed, or made much more expensive than they need to be.
The issue here was very hard — pretty much everyone agrees that Comcast is in desperate need of competition while also agreeing that these boxes stink. There were also incredibly strong views on both sides of this issue. I received many emails from opponents, passionately and articulately describing the issues with the boxes, and from proponents, passionately and articulately describing why we need the service and competition. This was a no-win vote for me in terms of popularity contests. Either way I voted was going to make one group or the other upset with me. But, for better or for worse, casting controversial votes is what we do at the Board. If I wanted to be loved by everyone all the time, I wouldn’t have run for office.
And, this issue pointed to a major problem we have in San Francisco. We do a bad job managing our sidewalks. Our departments don’t coordinate well. We don’t have a strong master plan. We haven’t fully implemented the Better Streets Plan. That plan is how we should be managing our sidewalks and deciding what to put on them and where. Not through CEQA, which is a blunt instrument that doesn’t get you much other than delay and expense, but through actually having a plan for our sidewalks. As described below, through a strong and well-planned permitting system, we can do that.
So, why did I, in the end, tip in favor of voting to reject the appeal?”
[UPDATE: And oh, yesterday's vote at the Board o' Supes will have no effect upon cell phone service in San Francisco, despite what some might tell you. Uverse is about TV and wired Internet and wired phone service, for the most part. It's FttN, Fiber to the Node, bro-ham. It's not Fiber to the Cell Phone Antenna, no, not at all...]
The selfish, aging, rich, white, property-owning NIMBYs of San Francisco are having a tough go of it in the 415 during 2011. I mean, we just had the approval of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center and the (effective) approval of the King Edward II project and, now, a whole mess of utility boxes from AT&T.
Am I saying that San Francisco should “push projects into neighborhoods without input?”
Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The thing is though, even when you allow the NIMBY’s to give input before you start building a community service center or apartment building or brace of utility boxes, they’re still not happy.
Isn’t that funny?
Don’t you think that ugly people from San Francisco Beautiful had more than a little input on the long-delayed project to bring regular San Franciscans U-Verse Internet and TV and phone and WiFi service? (Way too much input, IMO.)
Anyway, Sunglint was all over yesterday’s action at the Board of Supervisors. See below. (Sunglint is not without strong feelings on the matter, so you’ve been warned.)
Is this an AT&T box? No it’s not. Should area NIMBY’s want it banned? Well, not if they want electricity:
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Here’s an excerpt from Sunglint, who later goes into what was behind each pro-NIMBY vote:
“At approximately 4:45PST, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to affirm the exemption determination for AT&T’s once-in-a-century telephone infrastructure upgrade project, aka “Project Lightspeed.” This means that AT&T can now start to implement their plan to upgrade the telecom infrastructure in the city, with the goal of delivering higher-speed 24Mbs DSL service within all San Francisco districts. AT&T also calls this as “Uverse” which can be any combination of television, telephone, and internet.
The final proposal seems to allow 495 cabinets to be installed throughout the city of San Francisco by AT&T. Multiple potential sites for each cabinet location are to be evaluated. When AT&T seeks an excavation permit from the DPW, besides doing the usual permit stuff, DPW will also notify that site’s supervisor. Then, that supervisor signs an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with AT&T regarding the site, or one of the alternative sightings are considered. Something like that: the specific details seem fuzzy. There seems to be a formal and sane DPW appeals process, and a my-supervisor-is-crazy-curve-ball appeals process.
Voting against were the following sorry lot of supervisors, with their comments below.
District 1: Eric Mar
District 3: David Chiu
District 5: Ross Mirkarimi
District 6: Jane Kim
District 11: John Avalos
Note to the supervisors listed above: I will be voting against you in future elections, geography permitting, and consider your conduct in this matter anti-internet, anti-technology, anti-jobs: death eaters, all! Here are specific comments.”
Get Sunglint’s summary of comments here.
All right, I have to go talk a suicidal Comcast executive down from the roof right now. He’s yelling, “Millions, millions, our precious monopoly is going to lose millions!”
Oh, and after the jump, a list of NIMBY fellow travelers, the people who don’t want you to have high-speed Internet and whatnot.
[Well, the can got kicked down the road today at the BoS of course. Oh well. BTW, can your neighbors band together to prevent you from getting your mail? Not that I know of. So why should your neighbors band together to prevent you from getting your Internet at faster than dial-up speed? I don't know. Once again it's Rich White Homeowners 1, You 0.]
I don’t know, I think I’ve weighed-in enough already on the whole AT&T LightSpeed / U-Verse situation. But anyway, once more into the breach, my friends, once more down to City Hall for another Board of Supervisors meeting, starting at 2:00 PM this afternoon.
Now I know this might come as a shock to the easily shocked homeowners at San Francisco Beautiful, but, you know, most of the existing AT&T utility boxes in town don’t have graffiti all over them.
And remember, there’s graffiti in town that’s on other, non-AT&T utility structures.
Can you imagine?
All right, let me be your Sightsee M.C. – let’s take a tour of the Western Addition, the NIMBYs’ Fortress of Reaction.
Check it, is this a graffitoed AT&T box? No it’s not:
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So what, should we take it out to satisfy the millionaire homeowners across the street? You know, just do without whatever utility this utility box provides? Is that what you want, NIMBYs?
I think that one above is about electricity.
I know this one here is about electricity or gas, one or the other or both – see the new SmartMeter stuff? Is this array considered blight? So then we should live in the dark with candles, maybe?
Oh here we go, look at all this telephone pole “blight.” Should we get rid of land lines now?
Now, I don’t think you people need to watch any more TV than you already do. But U-Verse is a utility, right? Just like phone service and electrical and gas and whatnot, right?
So what gives wealthy, influential, white people* the right to put the kibosh on somebody’s Internet / Phone / Cable TV triple play for $99** a month?
That’s what I don’t know…
*What’s that NIMBY? You’re not wealthy? Oh yes you are! What’s that NIMBY? You’re not influential? Oh yes you are! You’ve got Supervisor Scott Wiener shaking in his boots, as ascared of you as he is of area dog owners. What’s that NIMBY? You’re not white? Oh, forget it, you already know you’re white, right NIMBY?
**For the first six months, but then, look out, brother!
Oh, look, yet another “utility box” on the sidewalks of San Francisco. But, kell domaje, it’s covered in graffiti. Let’s solve this problem by cancelling mail service to the 415 – does that make sense?
“My final words to SF Beautiful. Keep your hands off the neighborhoods of others. You don’t speak for us. We can speak for ourselves.”
Harsh. Now, I’m not sure how real a group the Ocean Beach Condominiums Homeowners Association is, but you can only get Comcast or dial-up internet out there near the ocean? Wow. Those poor devils, poor poor devils.
And, generally, do young people like judgmental homeowners associations? Apparently. (You mock twisted copper into the home? All right, but some people would like that. Deal with it. Who is stepping up for Fiber Into the Home or whatever they call it? Who is going to pay for that? Oh well, in the meantime, we’ll have AT&T as another choice.)
Anyway, appears as if those AT&T boxes will get approved today at the Board of Supes, but that will come with the chance that your neighbors will still say neigh and you won’t be able to get U-Verse after all.
Consider that a partial victory for Progress.
Well, here’s the other viewpoint, from that blog what doesn’t allow The People to make comments, what gets five-figures a year of taxpayer money to express its leader’s political views, what’s run by the King of the Tenderloin, the NIMBY King, who lives in a six-bedroom, four-bath mansion somewhere in the East Bay, fair ‘nough.
Hey, NIMBYs, infrastructure isn’t beautiful.
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Is this what the NIMBYs want more of, laughable infrastructure?
Via Sunglint: “‘What is this, Mumbai?” Said by a visiting Canadian engineer while looking out my study window in the Mission”
How about this, NIMBY’s? Why don’t you get together and deal with AT&T on a more local basis, the way your elected and appointed officials have already worked out. Frankly, I don’t care if you want to shake down T for money in my hood, if you all want to hold connectivity hostage to your demands, cause I don’t want the U-Verse.
But other people do. Try to not be so selfish, you NIMBYs.
Try to think of something besides your precious real estate, you fucking NIMBYs.
Well, AT&T Regional Vice President of External Affairs Marc Blakeman had his hands full yesterday at the Board of Supervisors over the whole AT&T U-Verse NIMBY shakedown issue.
Here’s what he had to say after the Board of Supervisors voted to kick the can down the road for a few weeks:
“Tonight the SF Board of Supervisors recognized and praised the unprecedented community outreach AT&T has conducted as we work collaboratively with neighborhoods to site the infrastructure necessary to bring San Franciscans choice and competition. They provided a roadmap to getting the approval needed to begin the largest upgrade in our 130+ year history. We look forward to working with them in the weeks ahead and continuing our dialogue with community groups across the city.”
OK then. That’s that for the time being.
Now, read a blow-by blow account from Sunglint, below.
AT&T RVP MB at the BoS:
Here’s Sunglint’s statement for the record:
“As a San Francisco resident, I am concerned about the present state of our communications infrastructure. In my professional career, I interact with many software engineers all over the world. When they visit San Francisco, one of the items that invariably comes up is our woeful internet infrastructure.
How can it be, visiting engineers will ask, can the city minutes from the heart of Silicon Valley, with Google, Twitter, all of media gulch, have both poor wireless capability for mobile devices and ancient DSL? In Europe, “regular” DSL, nothing fancy and available for ~$40 a month, is capable of 18M bps downstream, and 2 M bps up. This includes free VOIP, digital television, and more. But let’s just concentrate on bandwidth capability, regardless of cost.
A San Francisco resident is hard-pressed to find such bandwidth, at any price, in San Francisco proper. There are three obvious choices for wired, residential high-speed internet in SF:
1) Verizon FIOS. This is only available in SF’s Financial District, and in select parts of Mission Bay.
2) Comcast cable. For just internet alone, this would be around $120. Some companies are pooling employees and negotiating better rates, but this is not an option for the rest of the public.
3) ATT Uverse fiber. This is not available in SF due to well-known issues. The highest-bandwidth Uverse in SF is Plain Old Copper DSL and stuck at 6Mbps maximum.
High speed internet access is vital for collaborative software development, and sadly San Francisco is not competitive with cities such as Austin and Chicago in the United States, and Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and London in Europe, or Tokyo and Bangalore in Asia.
Allowing ATT to proceed with its Uverse installation in SF would be a small step to help restore competitiveness. And a welcome sign. I would like to see the SF Board of Supervisors go much further, and allow all three network providers equal access to San Francisco property owners, with the end goal to make San Francisco a true world competitor in internet infrastructure, with all residents having access to high-bandwidth internet from multiple providers.”
And here’s the rest.
Comcast sucks, right? (1.9 million results can’t be wrong.)
And Comcast’s monopoly in the 415 is part of the reason why.
These boxes are about as boxy as your boxy little houses, NIMBY’s. (The place where you happen to rest your head at night, that doesn’t define who you are, does it? It shouldn’t, anyway.)
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Now myself, well I have rabbit ears and a broke-down govmint digital cable box what gets channels 2 and 4 and a few others, occasionally, so I won’t won’t be signing up for the AT&T U-Verse myself. But doesn’t San Francisco deserve 21st connectivity?
I tink so.
So let’s see here, U-Verse (short for universe, or universal, or whatnot, manifestly) is a weird name, apparently, but “Nevius,” that’s not weird at all. That’s one lesson you can learn today from the most simple-mindedest writer on staff at the Chronicle.
And you can get some quotes from one of the horrible, money-hungry NIMBYs over at SF Beautiful.
Now, the Comcast monopoly sucks, non? (And actually, you can live without cable or satelite TV, anyway, if you want.)
All right, here’s a retread from before. Enjoy:
Here’s what you do, just surf on over to ipnetwork4sf.att.com to see what AT&T has in store for San Francisco. They want to bring fiber optics closer to your house so that you can join the 21st century, access-to-data-wise. They call it U-verse and a couple thousand people in town already use it for high speed internet and wireless and television and phone and whatnot.
The thing is that AT&T needs to put “street cabinetry” all over the 415 to make it all work and they only put in 14 boxes before giving up the effort in 2008. But they’re back now for another try. They told me all about it over turkey samwiches the other day at that building they share with the Twitter in the SoMA. But everything they talked about is on the new website, they’ve even got a blog.
The site allows recent arrivals to SF to vent:
We’ll do whatever it takes to get U-Verse to our neighborhood here in the Outer Sunset. Every single night, we shake our fists at our current Comcast DVR and yell, “WE MISS OUR U-VERSE!”
O.K. then. Anyway, AT&T’s Marc Blakeman is standing by to hear what you have to say or schedule a meeting about where to put the boxes or whatever. He’s already met with 45 groups this go-around, so why not you or your group too?
(Oh, and don’t ask about what it takes to bury these things – you don’t want to know. The hole they have to dig and air-condition and whatnot is bigger than your apartment.)
We were supposed to be the first city to get this stuff and now we’re one of the last. Oh well.
Get all the deets at the special AT&T site.
And here’s the FAQ to get you started: