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What is it about communications equipment boxes that make the utilities responsible so reluctant to maintain them or even be identified?
City streets are full of boxes in various shapes and sizes that contain wiring for telecommunications equipment, usually located on boulevards or even in front yards, although still within the municipal road allowance.
They’re essential to facilitate the internet, cable TV service and land-line phones we all rely on.
But you wouldn’t know it by the state of repair of a lot of them.
Let’s be blunt: Many of the boxes are junk, with rusty or missing covers, wires spilling out and an overall appearance of neglect that suggests the utilities that own them aren’t the least concerned.
If they were, they’d make sure every piece of on-street equipment is labeled with identifying markings that can easily be seen, as well as information on how the public can report damaged boxes.
And they’d make sure their technicians are trained to keep an eye out for them and report damage whenever they see it. Or better still, get out of their trucks and fix things.
But judging by a box at the northwest corner of Lawrence and Warden Aves., pride of ownership and community responsibility is not on the radar for whatever big utility is responsible.
James Barrett sent us a note about the box, along with a series of photos that show how it has crumbled into pieces that are strewn around the boulevard, while the wiring is open and exposed to the weather and to idiots who might fiddle with them.
“This has been in various states of disrepair for at least the past five years, and possibly 10. It’s been damaged so long its part of the scenery,” he said.
“This is the worst it has ever been and it’s been like this for months. It has been put back together before, but never properly,” said Barrett, adding that the last time it was fixed, a bunch of tape was wound around the thing.
We went there and found a crumbling equipment box on the corner, but could not find anything on the pieces of the box or the wires inside that identifies the utility that owns it.
And it’s hard not to conclude that that is no mistake.
Jacqueline Michelis, who deals with media for Bell, emailed to say a technician will be dispatched to figure out who owns the box and will fix it if it belongs to Bell. If whoever the owner is really wanted to do the right thing, they’d make sure all their street equipment is easily identifiable. More on this in a couple weeks.