The telecoms giant faced opposition to its planned installation of new fibre optic hubs, deemed unsightly, on the borough’s historic streets.
British Telecom recalled its engineers from up-market Kensington & Chelsea after the authority refused permission to install ‘ugly’ broadband boxes in the borough.
The new ‘obtrusive’ green cabinets, measuring 1.6 meters in height, are larger than the 1.15m boxes currently operated.
Of the 108 planning applications submitted, 96 were denied, and the council say BT are reluctant to compromise on the location or design of boxes.
“Other councils, including those of neighbouring boroughs, have shown a greater eagerness to enjoy the benefits of fibre broadband,” said a BT spokesman.
The planned expansion would have provided connection speeds ten times faster than the existing infrastructure.
The council spokesman said they regret the conflict of interests with BT, but said Richard Branson’s Virgin Group are a viable alternative.
“Virgin have been able to do this without ruining our historic streetscape.”
The debacle raises questions as to whether the authority’s stringent planning rules, which protect its attractive Edwardian setting, are a barrier to progress.
Follow us on @SW_Londoner