Many San Franciscans have waited a long time for utilities to move underground, at great expense of time and money to each homeowner who was lucky enough to have the utilities undergrounded in their neighborhood. The effort to underground utilities has made the city safer and cleared the skies of overhead wires.
Now AT&T would like to nullify that effort by “upgrading” their services and placing utility boxes above ground, in every neighborhood of the city. AT&T intends to upgrade its telecommunications network to a high-speed data transmission technology referred to as “Lightspeed.” In July 2007 AT&T posted flyers in the Inner Sunset neighborhood notifying residents of its intention to install above-ground utility boxes.
Subsequently the San Francisco Planning Department issued an environmental impact report finding that AT&T could move forward with its plans. AT&T immediately requested a permit from Public Works to begin installation. However, the permit was appealed by a neighborhood organization forcing a hearing before the Board of Supervisors. The Board will hear the appeal at its meeting on Tuesday, July 29th. The Board has the authority to deny the appeal or refer the matter back to the Planning Commission for review.