San Francisco Cabinets

The San Francisco Business Times reports that a San Francisco judge has rejected a challenge to AT&T’s planned cabinet deployment, which will soon deliver AT&T’s U-verse broadband and television services.

I’ve written in the past in support of the infrastructure necessary for broadband service delivery, and I am heartened by this ruling that the cabinets are not subject to environmental review.

That said, cabinets can be a magnet for graffiti, and service providers should minimize their cabinet footprint while monitoring for incidents of graffiti. Cleanup must be swift when damage does occur.’s own plan to deliver Gigabit Fiber-to-the-home in San Francisco is moving along, with a number of regulatory and permitting hurdles now behind us. While this project would mean around 188 additional cabinets in San Francisco, this is a lesser number than is needed for the slower copper-delivered U-verse service, so it is a lower impact project.

We are sensitive to the concerns of San Francisco residents, and will seek to minimize the visual and obstructive impact of our planned cabinet deployments. Cabinets will be monitored for graffiti, and we will establish a graffiti reporting hotline for reporting. Any graffiti found will be removed within one weekday.

We will also deliver the best possible service: Fiber-to-the-home, at full Gigabit speeds.

  • In San Jose, cabinets have a vinyl film over them, that are photos taken from different angles, so when you are walking across the street, or down the sidewalk, and you happen to look, you realize that it is a photograph taken of the building behind the cabinet, or the street, or the building across the street. Its hard to explain, but basically they are camo’ed to look like the surrounding scene around them. Matter of fact, the ones on street corners, also remind people to brake at stop lights and to look for pedestrians, so its kinda cool.

    If Sonic does this in SF, like they have in San Jose, the risk of graffiti drops immensely. Like this photo

  • Kris Lou

    There’s a cabinet in my front yard in San Jose. Willing to serve as a test drive for fiber down here!!

  • Emeryville turns these things into a venue for public art.  

  • Don

    I really like the ‘public art’ idea. It’s no guarantee against mindless taggers, but things that invoke interest and surprise are more likely to be embraced by the local population than a faceless utility box (especially if the design is whimsical).

    If Sonic were to go this route they could hold contests for entrees and the artist would, in effect, sponsor the box and its graffiti reporting. It’s not as if there’s a shortage of people yearning for expression in SF…

  • Dtownsend90

    Please I want my Gigabit in SF soon 🙂 

  • Reece Mak

    Google is launching Google Fiber. I wonder when is Sonic launched fiber in my area.

  • jay2s

    I’m all for fiber in SF, so this question is purely out of curiosity. How are the boxes connected to one another? Do you still have to dig up the streets or sidewalks to lay underground fiber? I thought the boxes somehow prevented that need, but I don’t understand how. Thanks!

  • sonicnet

    For Fiber-to-the-home, fiber must be brought to every home. In some areas this is on utility poles, overhead, and other areas are served underground.

  • I would suggest to take a proactive cultural responsive stance and muralize your own cabinets, so they are less susceptible to graffiti. Rather then their obstructive dull existence. listed resource:

  • bubba-frisco-dave

    When you deploy in SF, I suggest you start near West Portal Station. It is only a block from the affluent areas of Saint Francis Woods and Forest Hill, which will have a high saturation of savvy speed demons. From there it is easy to branch out into the Sunset district and from there north to the Richmond district. You need to think about Monkey-brains as a possible competitor, they offer very high speed wireless networks spanning several blocks around each wireless node. But their spread is mostly to the east side of the city, leaving the west and north-east to you. Go for it!!!

  • why not make them a magnet for something else? like neighborhood flyers or postings? c’mon you can be more creative than “we’ll make sure it’s gone in one day”

  • Joe

    Why not put these cabinet up in the lamp post so no one can reach them? No graffiti., no vandalism, problem solved…

    I am one of your fusion customer in SF, looking forward to see your fiber Giga-bit network coming to my area…

  • sonicnet

    Too large and heavy to be pole mounted.


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