BT finds Royal borough conservation plans too posh to allow it to push out its Infinity superfast broadband upgrade
BT Openreach has ditched plans to provide superfast broadband in the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea following council objections.
BT had planned to install 108 fibre to the cabinets (FTTC) and some fibre to the home (FTTH) but has now abandoned these plans. But parts of the borough are conservation areas and BT's cabinets were felt to be intrusive and ugly.
BT said it had tried to come to a compromise but now had "exhausted" all its options so was withdrawing from plans to install its Infinity broadband services in the area.
However, a council spokesman said: "Every developer in Kensington and Chelsea must have regard to our historic streetscapes and listed buildings. We expect developers, including utilities like BT, to work with us to find suitable solutions to ensure that our environment is protected.
"BT was seeking permission for 108 cabinets, many of them in sensitive locations. It would not compromise on the number, or on the design. It would not use sites that already had unused BT equipment and it would not consider putting the equipment underground or any other method.
"We regret that BT are not proceeding with superfast broadband in the Royal Borough but we expect other providers will want to offer superfast broadband to our residents, in a very valuable market, without ruining our historic streetscape."
The Thinkbroadband advice site agreed and said: "In theory BT could avoid the problem by installing its fibre to the premises in the borough, which uses passive hardware.
"This does not require a new street cabinet, but would require extra chambers in the pavement and possible disruption as the fibre tubing is fed to each of the 34,000 premises, which may not be popular with the council."
With BT withdrawing, another provider may now consider moving in as some 34,000 premises will remain stuck on ADSL2+.
We asked Virgin Media if it would consider plugging the gap. It said that it already provided nearly full coverage in the Royal borough but said it "would in-fill [install equipment in unoccupied areas] as needed depending on demand."
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