Kensington and Chelsea council blocks BT broadband plans

Telecoms giant BT has halted its roll-out of super-fast broadband from an upmarket area of London after being refused permission to install cabinets in the streets

The firm said it had decided to pull its engineers from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea after having 96 of its 108 applications for street cabinets rejected by the local council.

BT warned that 34,000 homes and businesses in the borough will miss out on the high speed broadband "revolution."

The firm said it had already installed more than 4,000 fibre street cabinets across 31 boroughs in London, including ones with many conservation areas

BT said Kensington and Chelsea seemed to find the cabinets "ugly" and wanted to leave the streets as uncluttered as possible.

A BT spokesman said: "We can confirm we have ceased deployment of fibre broadband in Kensington and Chelsea. This is unfortunate but we were left with no option after having the vast majority of our applications rejected by the council.

"Other councils, including those of neighbouring boroughs, have shown a greater eagerness to enjoy the benefits of fibre broadband.

"We will therefore re-focus our engineers' efforts in other areas where planning authorities have taken a positive approach and are keen to ensure their residents and businesses can benefit from this technology."

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 unusedBT 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."

PA

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