Comcast Installs Big-Ass Box On Your Lawn

According to an article in The Press Democrat, some residents in Santa Rosa, CA. are coming home to find large green Comcast utility boxes installed on their property, often in the middle of their lawns. The unsightly green plastic boxes are about the size of an air conditioner and have been popping up in Santa Rosa as Comcast upgrades its cable network. Naturally, the residents are upset.

“I came home to find Comcast had put a green utility box smack-dab in the middle of my lawn. You couldn’t miss it. My stomach just turned,” said Cheryl Davison. It was an eyesore for Davison since her old equipment was buried in her yard and covered with a plastic lid. She got nowhere calling customer service so she decided to call the contractor who installed the box. The contractor gave her the number for Comcast’s local network construction team and after 3 weeks got her box removed.

“No one is going to be happy to have the box in their yard, but Comcast could do a lot better with customer service and dealing with their customers,” said resident Jim Chilton. Chilton returned home one day and found a box so close to his driveway he couldn’t open his car door to help is 4-year-old son. He said, “It looked awful. The grass around the box disturbed and never replaced.”

Chilton said he finally got a hold of someone at Comcast who promised to help him. He said, “Just trying to get a hold of someone to talk to is a total pain. They would not have done squat if I hadn’t written their legal department.”

Comcast’s rival, AT&T, has also been getting in on the act by placing even larger boxes on residential properties. In both cases the companies say that the reason for the big boxes is that the new equipment runs hotter and therefore cannot be buried underground. “You don’t want this sensitive network equipment to overheat,” said Andrew Johnson, vice president of communications for Comcast.

Sorry Andrew, but if the above results are any indication, apparently you can put at least some of these equipment bundles underground. Although, doing the job right probably takes some extra time, effort and money which are all things you probably aren’t used to spending on your customers.

Boxed in by Comcast [The Press Democrat] (Thanks to Joe!)
(Photo: The Press Democrat)

Comments

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  1. cyberkoko says:

    The biggest question is if Comcast is installing the boxes in the right-of-way near the street or if they are actually placing them on private property.

  2. Aphex242 says:

    Not to be a jerk, and the guy whose box was so close to his driveway he couldn’t get his car door open, that’s legit. But looking at the photo included, it’s clear that the box really isn’t in the front at all (the shot’s at a fairly severe angle), it’s nowhere near the size of an air conditioner, and is smack in the middle of a utilities easement.

    I seriously doubt this thing would even have an effect on resale value.

  3. sp00nix says:

    I would have just backed it over.

  4. ncboxer says:

    At least in the above yard, it looks so close to the street that I bet it is the right of way. It most likely differs from city to city, but right of ways come way up from the road usually.

    It does look really ugly and I would be highly pissed as well. I would take a sledgehammer to it if the cable company didn’t bury it.

  5. jasezero says:

    If you were a homeowner, do you really want these boxes in the middle of your yard? They look absolutely horrible…pictures do not do it justice.

    If I were this person, I would tie a chain to my truck and rip it out of my ground, and put it right in front of the main door to the lobby of the closest Comcast building.

  6. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    What’s the right-of-way? Is that basically an area on your lot where the city can say fuck-all and do whatever they want?

  7. BStu says:

    @aphex242: The photo above shows a sidewalk and a front door. How is that not the front of the house?

  8. wallapuctus says:

    Agreed if I found one of these on my property I’d tear it up and throw it in the garbage.

  9. jaydez says:

    I had one of these in my front yard as a kid growing up. It was put there by tele-media in 1985 and never bothered us. my mom planted a bush near it to hide it. One day I pulled the cover off it and all that was inside was a cable wire held up by a metal rod where it connected to another wire that went to the street.

    I doubt there is anything more than a simple cable connection is most of these boxes.

    If you have one on your property, its your property so pull off the cover and see what’s inside it.

  10. ianmac47 says:

    Looks as though a sledge hammer might solve the problem.

  11. SarcasticDwarf says:

    Even if it is in the right of way, why couldn’t they have put it along the property line so it does not make the yard look like crap?

  12. SarcasticDwarf says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Basically yes.

  13. homerjay says:

    I’m pretty impressed that they got that thing installed without tearing up the lawn, knocking down that tree, and setting fire to the bushes.

    See? There’s ALWAYS a bright side.

  14. SexCpotatoes says:

    I understand how this “sensitive equipment” needs to be cooler, so we have to mount it above ground…

    except for this thing called “summer.”

    I thought the temperatures underground were relatively stable, hence geothermal heating and cooling systems for homes.

    Couldn’t that be done on a somewhat smaller scale to keep this equipment underground? (and yes I do realize that may require more digging as there is a finite amount of temperature that can be dispersed into the surrounding underground before you overheat the equipment)

    Because I gotta tell you, unless these things USE oxygen or carbon dioxide, I don’t see how having them out in the middle of a yard in 90 degree + heat in summer will really cool the equipment off AT ALL. The wind doesn’t blow that much every day.

  15. timmus says:

    Judging by the picture, is this even considered a yard? Don’t you need about 10 square feet of grass or something?

  16. tcp100 says:

    Those who insist on a sledgehammer solution might want to look up local laws on interfering with a utility; the penalties can be pretty harsh.

    The right-of-way on property is exactly that; the rights of the locality trump yours. In many jurisdiction, there’s an offset from the street that isn’t even technically considered your property – it’s city property, and hence, the PUC can give franchisees the ability to use it for equipment.

    Comcast is not doing anything illegal. (Cheap and tacky maybe; not illegal.) If you “ripped it out of the ground”, you would be doing something illegal.

    The correct person to complain to is whoever does the oversight of utility franchises in your city/county. Chances are, though, they’ll just have to put the box on your neighbor’s lawn — otherwise, no high speed internet / digital cable for the whole neighborhood – which would beget a whole separate set of gripes.

  17. djhopscotch says:

    “Even if it is in the right of way, why couldn’t they have put it along the property line so it does not make the yard look like crap?”

    If it is in the right of way, it isn’t on your property its on the city’s.

  18. azntg says:

    @SexCpotatoes: You have a point there. Besides, isn’t it cooler underground?

  19. apotheosis says:

    Well really, as much as I’d love to pile on Comcast, it’s not like the box broke up the perfect natural zen symmetry of a yard already graced with what looks like a giant subway elevator smack in the middle of it.

  20. chrisjames says:

    @SexCpotatoes: I’d guess they’re above ground to provide enough venting for forced convection cooling. But seriously, that’s pretty damned hot to need so much if it’s forced. But yeah, it might be easier if it weren’t above ground like that–in a big dome oven no less.

    It may just be some contracted engineer’s assessment of cooling methods, and Comcast just up and picked the cheapest (and ugliest) choice.

  21. mgy says:

    @SexCpotatoes: I came in here to say the exact same thing. Maybe they could have a vent/grate in the yard for air circulation as a comfortable compromise.

  22. tcp100 says:

    @SexCpotatoes: The equipment is not above ground for cooling reasons. The equipment is above ground for easier access, and to keep it dry.

    Usually those green boxes are junction taps, where there’s an actual exposed connector. If it were in an underground encasement, there’s a higher chance of moisture problems.

    Granted there are other solutions (watertight in-ground encasements), however they are, of course, more expensive.

  23. a_mama says:

    If they don’t need to be in front of every house, why can’t they ask the homeowners where they would like the box? I wouldn’t want a big metal box in an area where my kids played regularly, what if they fell on it and cracked their head open?

  24. chrisdag says:

    In the town I grew up in, the right of way for utilities was 10 feet from the street — within that patch they could put whatever they wanted.

    That said they usually did a good job — re-sodding after trenching and re-paving if they had to go through a driveway or something.

  25. attackgypsy says:

    The word for today is “easement”.

    Most utilities, including cable companies, have it on your property. Otherwise, you couldn’t get many services. You’re looking at massive penalties, including criminal ones, if you touch it.

    Best thing is to call the company, and get them to remove it. May take some time, but most companies will do so.

  26. Dobernala says:

    @jaydez: Depending on what boxes we are talking about, there is actually equipment inside of these things. The ATT U-Verse boxes actually have fiber going inside to a mini-DSLAM.

    No, it is most certainly not your property. If you think otherwise, try and see what happens when you knock out phone service (including 911) to your neighbors. You might end up waking up to a police man ready to take you away in cuffs.

  27. P_Smith says:

    The article doesn’t say whose home is using these boxes. If it were put on my property and I weren’t the customer, I’d give them one call to remove it in 24 hours and then remove it myself.

    If the box is put on a customer’s own property, the company should tell them before installing or put it where the customer tells them.

    Would you put up with a mover that puts your refrigerator in the living room and then says it’s “not their problem”?

  28. Skankingmike says:

    what if you don’t use cable or the internet? just saying? and they stuck this on your lawn.

    and who’s to say if i took a sledge hammer to the box that anybody could blame me? Prove it. That’s what the court system is for, burden of proof, I don’t even own a sledge hammer, now what?

  29. SadSam says:

    The local electric dept. wanted to install a junction box on my property. They paid me $7000 for an easment right.

  30. overbysara says:

    @SexCpotatoes: yeah I agree… caves are cool year round!

    I think being on a lawn in the hot sun is a lot LESS cool than being buried.

  31. renilyn says:

    @tcp100: Thank you. First educated answer I have seen yet on this.

  32. Gokuhouse says:

    What most people here are not realizing is how tiny that front yard in the picture is. With a yard that small, why would anyone be happy with losing ANY of it?

  33. scokar says:

    Put one of those fake hollow rocks you see in the Sky Mall magazines over top of that thing.

  34. apotheosis says:

    Just build a water feature around it and set a fountain right on top.

  35. taka2k7 says:

    A little more info on the story:

    [www.dslreports.com]

  36. cosby says:

    To all of those people saying they would damage it you realize they have full right to do what they want in that section of your land. The box was put on an easement that was their when you bought the house. The Easement’s very but chances are they could pave in that section of your land if they wanted to.

  37. djhopscotch says:

    @Skankingmike:

    You might want to re-read your deed if you think it is on “your” lawn.

  38. djhopscotch says:

    They can’t do what ever they want, they have to get an encroachment permit with the city before they can do any work. AN no, they can’t just pave it if they want. It is most likely on the city’s property, your property doesn’t go all the way to the sidewalk, it ends before it.

  39. balthisar says:

    Wow, gotta blame the developer for planning the small lots, or the planner for accepting those plats. Virtually all residential property has easements of some type. Usually (around here) the sidewalk is at the interior length of the easement, so it’s obvious where the easement is. But I can see from the photo that there’s just no property to speak of (kind of begs the question, why even bother?). Luckily all of my easements are on the rear 15′ of my lot.

  40. weakdome says:

    What yard?
    I see a big square of plastic/concrete in the middle of some grass. That yard is so small, dogs probably don’t even crap there.

  41. kalikidtx says:

    a “right of way” easement is not the same as placing a permanent structure (like a big ass green box) on a private owner’s land. The right of way easement would surely allow the utility company to “pass” through your land to access their equipment. If the land belongs to the property owner they cannot place permanent structure above ground without compensation or permission. Right of way is just that a right of WAY not a right to build whatever they want wherever they want…

  42. “a “right of way” easement is not the same as placing a permanent structure (like a big ass green box) on a private owner’s land.”

    As others have tried to point out, a ‘right of way’ easement is exactly that. Especially in pre-fab subdivisions that are so popular nowadays.

  43. meadandale says:

    Comcast can do whatever the hell they want in a utility easement.

    I hit the trifecta when they undergrounded our utilities. Not only did I get one of the SMALL green cable boxes from cox, I also got a cylindrical unit from ATT and a 4’x4’x4′ steel box from the power company. Since all of this is in the grass median strip between the street and the sidewalk, there isn’t anything I can do about it, even though they tore up 1/3 of my lawn.

  44. Rask says:

    Look at the bright side. Maybe this person can get a discount on services for Comcast.

    As well, less lawn to now so you save on gas!

  45. strangeffect says:

    @BStu: Agreed. You could very easily see it if you looked straight ahead from the front windows.

  46. Buran says:

    @Dobernala: If it’s on your property, it’s trespass and whoever put it there was trespassing as well. If you didn’t sign an agreement to lease out the bit of property that was used, how exactly are you not within your rights to remove it and drop it in the street or on the public easement?

    (the photo doesn’t look like it’s on the public easement. Looks like it’s on the actual private lawn).

  47. Traveshamockery says:

    Can anyone explain how this is even legal without the consent of the homeowner?

  48. juri squared says:

    At least they didn’t leave a gaping 6-foot hole in their yard, which is what the phone company did when I was in high school. It took two months of threatening phone calls to get them to fill it in.

    Otherwise, the junction boxes in our backyard weren’t much of an issue. They were in the back of the yard and the previous owners had landscaped around them so that they looked like bizarre lawn ornaments.

  49. consumingall says:

    As a few people have pointed out, chances are, this is not the homeowner’s property, it is city owned right of way. If not, there is probably an easement, attached to the property deed which gives the utility company the right to do exactly what they are doing. Removal or damage by any homeowner would probably lead to vandalization charges and a loss of service to you and your neighbors homes.

  50. aka Cat says:

    @apotheosis: I’m pretty sure the ‘elevator’ was also courtesy of Comcast. From the article:

    It was an eyesore for Davison since her old equipment was buried in her yard and covered with a plastic lid.

    They’re eliminating her front yard, one utility box at a time. Yay!

  51. firstxv says:

    The size of the yard isn’t relevant. And no one disputes the fact that the utility company has a right of way on your property. What is striking about this story is that the boxes were installed without notice (or at least that appears to be the case). A good customer service approach would have been a simple: “Yo, we need to install a box in your front yard and wanted you to know about it. We’d like to work with you, so please call this number if you have any questions.” Instead, I think they probably just turned the sub-contractor loose with a list of addresses and a bunch of boxes.

  52. consumingall says:

    The alternative to these boxes is a 20′ power pole with overhead wires crossing each lot.

    People should also read the utility easement language attached to their deed. They may be suprised to find out that they can’t put anything permanent including fences and landscaping on these easements.

  53. akede2001 says:

    @jaydez: Actually, if it’s in an easement it’s not your property to do whatever you want with. It can be built upon or used to widen a road. Any utilities on it remain the property of whoever installed it. Legally, you also cannot block access to them.

  54. akede2001 says:

    @InfiniTrent: It’s in the property deeds. Nearly every city in the US allows this. Generally, the rule is that whatever needs to get installed is installed nearest the road or existing utility lines. This tends to be the grass nearest the road for front yards, or below power lines in the back yard. It’s also not trespassing for authorized people to be on your property to access the easements.. so think twice before getting a gun and showing that Comcast repairman a thing or two.

    With that being said, I hate Comcast. Always have, always will. Horrible service, horrible customer support, horrible rates.

  55. akede2001 says:

    @akede2001: Oh, and if you have something built there.. or a tree, or a bush, landscaping, etc.. they can come and rip it out to install or access whatever they need, without even asking you.

  56. lemur says:

    @Buran: If you are a homeowner the presumption is that you have to abide by whatever easement rules are in force in your town or county or whatever administrative unit governs this at your location.

    However, contrarily to what some other people have said, it is not true that the city or the utility companies can do “whatever they want” with the easement. The easement rules themselves and the specific usage of the easement can certainly be challenged in court.

  57. highmodulus says:

    As a bonus- the AT&T boxes were filled with the “blow-up and burn” battery technology to go with the giant unsightly boxes. So they had that working for them. . .

  58. apotheosis says:

    @Rask:

    As well, less lawn to now so you save on gas!

    That’s an excellent point. They’re reducing our dependence on foreign oil AND saving the environment!

  59. @Diet-Orange-Soda: Uh, yeah. These things are usually marked on the plat of your property. You know about them, or are supposed to be briefed about them, when you buy the house.

  60. solidstate42 says:

    He should have looked at this title report to see if there were any easements.

  61. Buran says:

    @lemur: Oh, I know. I’m just saying I don’t think it’s on the easement (but have not seen the survey, so I might be wrong) but IF it’s on your property, I can’t see you being punished for removing something that is trespassing.

  62. gqcarrick says:

    You should be able to charge the utilities rent for having their equipment on your private property.

  63. digitalgimpus says:

    @InfiniTrent: They are generally considered legal because your cable company in most states is a franchise. They don’t own the network, they have an exclusive license to operate it. The network itself is owned by the city.

    The city has the right to install equipment where necessary, for example street lights, telephone poles, and yes, cable equipment.

    This varies depending where you live.

    They also have the right to dig if there’s a problem. So if your neighbor reports a gas problem, and the line is partially under your property, yes, the gas company can dig, even if you object.

    Just part of living near others.

  64. CharlieInSeattle says:

    My local cable has always had these, hard to even notice since it located in wild brush at the edge of my 2 acre property.

  65. lemur says:

    @Buran: You may be right that the equipment is not on the easement. If I were the owner of the house, I’d sure check that. But I’ve also seen easements that were surprisingly large.

  66. lemur says:

    @gqcarrick: If the easement already existed when you bought the house, you can’t charge rent.

    If a utility wants a new easement on your land then you can (and should!) charge them for it. Some farmers do precisely that: they sell easements to wireless companies to put their towers on their farms.

  67. Trai_Dep says:

    Few would argue the right of utilities to have equipment. It’s the fact that they don’t take even reasonable measures to minimize the profile of their equipment that grates.

  68. lemur says:

    @Trai_Dep: Agreed. I think Comcast showed really poor judgment. It looks like they let the contractors loose to just do whatever instead of talking to homeowners ahead and planning intelligently. Now the complaints are coming to bite them in the ass. It could well be that if this lands in court and a judge looks at the situation he might tell Comcast to bury everything. Easement does not mean “freedom to do whatever”.

  69. meadandale says:

    @firstxv:

    So you concede that Comcast installed something in their easement but you think they are going to give you a courtesy call to let you know what they are planning to do?

    LOL. I guess most of you people do not own property.

  70. Wow, a lot of people here don’t seem to know what an easement is or how its applied. We’re not talking the “10 feet from the street” thing that the govt gets here, this is utilities: something totally different.

    For example: on the side of your house there is a network interface box for your telephone, probly one for your cable TV, an electric meter, maybe a gas meter… All those things have underground cable/pipe going to the street. The utility company has the right to dig that cable up and replace it if something happens, and put in junction boxes as needed.

    You cannot refuse them access, and the easements are written in to the deed on your property. You can ask them politely to use a smaller box, or even take them to court over it… but they have every right to do it.

  71. ELC says:

    @aphex242: Unlike most people think, cable is NOT a utility. I’ve often wondered how they can utilize the easement in the ground w/o homeowner agreement.

  72. anatak says:

    @kalikidtx: And here is when you learn exactly what a ‘right-of-way’ entails. The property “owner” does not ‘own’ it.

    Were these same owners upset to find that permanent cement sidewalk in front of their house?

    Plant a few trees out there in that part of your property and you’ll find out just how much say you have in the matter.

    Let your trees grow up around power lines and guess what – the utilities will cut them back or cut them down. If said trees are hanging out in the road, and/or impeding visibility, then guess what – count on your local road crew to correct that for you.

    Check your survey before raising such a stink. You might be surprised as to how much of “your property” that other people have rights to.

  73. anatak says:

    @lemur: Easement also does not mean “check with homeowner first”.

    Their right-of-way is just that – rights. If the homeowner had a say, those boxes would not be on anyone’s property. Thus why easements exist.

  74. AD8BC says:

    An easement holder can do anything within their easement that was spelled out when the original easement was purchased from the original property owner, most likely the developer in newer developments. Probably the easement was purchased by the city and sublet out to the individual utilities — water, cable, power, phone, sewer (if they are not maintained by the city).

    Easements are not required to be between the sidewalk and the street, or a certain width from the street. They are as large as the original agreed-upon easement allows. They don’t even need to be in the front — my sister is looking at boying a piece of property with a drainage easement running through the back yard. She would be required to maintain (read: mow the grass) on the easement, but cannot build any structure that would impede water flow, and if she builds a fence it would need to be removeable over the ditch should the county want to work on it.

    If you own property with an easement, you are required to maintain the surface (grass, sidewalk, etc), however if a utility needs to dig they are usually required to bring the surface back up to presentable shape.

    Easements are a funny part of property law. I was once in a ham radio club that had an “implied easement” in the middle of a proposed housing development. A prior owner of the property allowed the club to place a radio tower on the property (he was a member). He died and the property was bought and sold and bought and sold and finally ended up in the hands of a developer. Since the tower had been there over 15 years, and it was obvious to anybody purchasing the property (it was 100′ tall and had a power line and access road running to it), the club had a recognized easement and the developer ended up buying out the easement for a few thousand dollars.

    Easements are funny.

  75. vmspionage says:

    Why not bury it yourself? I’m not suggesting that you damage the equipment- just dig it up, bury it, plant some grass over it and call it done. If it ever stops working (overheats?) just plead the 5th.

  76. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    By virtue of XKCD, I read the title as
    “Comcast Installs Big Ass-Box On Your Lawn” and saw the picture and said to myself, gee, that doesn’t look like an ass at all.

  77. rrapynot says:

    “after 3 weeks got her box removed”. Sounds painful!

  78. Ragman says:

    Makes me wonder just what equipment they installed. Or, did the contractor figure that they’d save some labor costs by going above ground?

    Verizon has a fiber rack in our neighborhood that sits under a concrete pad like the pad in the picture. They had it the rack pulled up one day, and it looked to be about 3 feet tall. I’m just glad it’s not a big ugly enclosure. The ones from TNMP for electrical are bad enough. Our easement is on the alley, 10 feet, although the utilities (gas, electrical, phone, cable, fiber) are all within 5 feet of the alley, and outside our fence. Water and sewer all come through the front yard. I’d have to doublecheck to be sure, but I don’t think we’re forbidden to put something permanent over the easement, but the builder strongly suggested that we don’t, since it can be demolished if it’s in the utility company’s way when they’re doing work.

    GTE, before becoming Verizon, had put a couple of the telecom enclosures right next to the curb of the road near our house. We’re talking less than a foot from the traffic lane. One was a little 2 foot tall column, the other was one of the 4×4(?) foot cabinets. Idiots kept plowing into them with their cars, until Verzion finally moved them to the other side of the sidewalk.

  79. StevenJohn says:

    Easement = Other’s rights to your property.

  80. AD8BC says:

    @StevenJohn: Easement = Negotiated rights to your property. Usually not negotiated by the current homeowner, however.

  81. Lambasted says:

    Seriously, is Comcast the spawn of Satan? Easement or not, look at that thing! Only pure Evil would think any homeowner would be happy with that thing in their yard.

    And I am sure this is a class issue too. There is no doubt in my mind that if you went into an upscale neighborhood you would not find a big Comcast green box sitting on someone’s million dollar front lawn. I am sure Comcast goes to great lengths to unobtrusively install utilities in certain select neighborhoods when it wants to.

  82. AD8BC says:

    @Ragman: yes, you can usually put a structure up, but it can be removed/destroyed for access by an authorized utility — perhaps they may charge the property owner for the demolition? I don’t know.

    My sisters drainage easement is a surface easement (shallow ditch), which means that she can’t put up any structure that can impede drainage (i.e. a shed). A chain link fence is OK. There is also a storm sewer pipe buried under part of it, so the surveyor recommended to her that if she did put up a chain link fence over that part, that she just make a big swing gate over it so access is easy.

  83. brettt says:

    I’d bill Comcast for rent for that space.

    $1 million dollars a day.

    If they don’t like it, they can move out.

  84. FromThisSoil says:

    Well, the green box might be ugly to these people, but it’s a hell of a lot more attractive than having utility poles every 50′-60′ and bundles of overhead cables.

    Urban areas with overhead feeds are especially rat’s nests and cable TV overhead is an exceptional offender of ugly/bad wiring.

  85. theczardictates says:

    @brett: Of course you would, tough guy.

    Well, I learned something interesting today. Apparently, you don’t have to have any clue what you’re talking about to be a moderator-approved commenter here on Consumerist. Nor do you need to have read any of the comments from the people who do have a clue where you might have learned something before wading in with your “I’d dig it up/knock it down/not on my property!” nonsense.

    *sigh*

  86. firstxv says:

    @meadandale: I own property.

    But there’s no harm in advising companies like Comcast to notify people that they are going to add or modify equipment on their property before the work is done. If not, at least provide information that shows why it was done and maybe an easement FAQ.

    Comcast’s customer service reputation is already poor. Why make it worse?

  87. jswilson64 says:

    @jaydez: Hey, you’re right. Why don’t you pull the electric meter off the side of your house and see what’s in there, too? It’s on your property, have at it!

  88. lemur says:

    @anatak:

    Easement also does not mean “check with homeowner first”.

    Correct. But keep in mind that easement does not mean that those who benefit from the easement can do whatever they want with the easement. There is such a thing as using an easement abusively. Talking to people rather than shoving changes down their throats can help avoid future legal or PR troubles.

    Their right-of-way is just that – rights. If the homeowner had a say, those boxes would not be on anyone’s property. Thus why easements exist.

    We can learn from the article that Comcast has actually agreed to bury the equipment or move the boxes in some cases.

    Now tell me. Is it cheaper to install the hardware properly in the first place. Or is it cheaper to a) put it wherever the contractor feels like it, b) wait for complaints and then have to manage those complaints and c) finally move the hardware to another location when Comcast finds that the complaints are legitimate? Not only is there a material cost to moving equipment around but there is also a PR cost to treating your potential customers poorly.

    The beneficiary of an easement may have a right but it does not mean the right should be used without consultation with those affected by it.

  89. Osi says:

    If it’s not on your property, then there is no worries.

    If it is on your property, you are in your rights to destroy it and dump it on the company’s front door. It is known as vandalism if a company installed that on your property with no consent from you.

    The other part is the same. My mom bought land here in AK, no where in the contract does it talk about city stealing some of the land for their own use.

    However, City laws dictate that they can steal land and not pay you for stealing land.

    The results is easy. Build a fence up to the point of land that is truely yours. DO NOT up keep the “city’s land”. This means, no lawn mowing and the like.

    If the city complains, tell them to shove it. It’s their land, they take care of it.

  90. Oryx says:

    @ericole:

    Usually cable co.’s have formed some type of agreement with the city/state to be considered a utility. (especially if they are providing telephone service)

  91. Oryx says:

    @Dobernala:

    Indeed, when I was working for Comcast as a fiber tech I had a guy pull a gun on me as I was walking through the easement. In the middle of me trying to explain easement rights to him, he shot one of the tires on my bucket truck.

    I left, but the police showed up 10 minutes later, arrested him, and he ended up having his gun license revoked.

  92. FLConsumer says:

    “size of an air conditioner”? BULL. They’re about the size of a home PC Still somewhat objectionable, but nowhere near as bad. Despite what Comcast/Verizon/AT&T might say, YES, they can bury it completely. Go to your very exclusive neighborhoods and you won’t see this going on.

    In my neighborhood, Verizon recently went through installing underground vaults for everything. Even the electronic equipment is underground. In another area, I’ve seen Sprint/Embarq build an entire mini-CO underground, complete with air conditioning. So, it can be done. Their willingness to do so is another story.

  93. naptownman says:

    Those line amps are worth a couple hundred bucks each on the black market… or so I’m told.

  94. Serpephone says:

    If you can’t knock it over with your car, you may try to plant some shrubbery around it so it’s not so unsightly.

    I would definitely be worried about resale value if it is, in fact, in the front yard.

  95. ClankBoomSteam says:

    @FLConsumer: Uh, that’s about the size of my air conditioner. That cable box is not the size of a massive 60,000 BTU unit or anything, but it’s at least as big as the conditioner I have in my bedroom window — which is to say, “way too big to have sitting in the middle of my lawn”, especially with no permission or even notice from Comcast.

    And isn’t that the point, anyway? It doesn’t matter how big the device is, it’s not Comcast’s lawn to do with as they please. I’d be pissed if Comcast installed a device the size of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my lawn without talking to me first.

  96. akede2001 says:

    Wow, after reading a lot of the comments here.. it’s no wonder companies treat those of us with more intelligence like common idiots. It seems like the majority of consumers ARE just that.

    Have many of you commenting even bothered to read what’s going on? If you had, you’d know that Comcast was very likely within their rights to install the box there. It looks to me like that’s as close as they’re going to get to the road without having to climb a fence any time they needed to service the bloody thing.

    Destroy it? Go for it, and find yourself being fined and/or in jail. This entire article and thread is full of fail.

    Worried about it affecting your resale value? Please. Your house is vanilla with blue doors and trim. Maybe if people stopped being dicks with the “OMG YOU’RE ON MY LAND I’LL SHOOT YOU” this world would be a much better place for everyone. Instead, it’s “Destroy it!”, “It’s yours! Crack it open!”, “Sue them!”, “Don’t maintain the grass around it!” You couldn’t even spray paint it without getting in trouble for it.

    Violation of rights? No. The city was there long before you were. You agreed to these laws before you even moved into the house. Now stop complaining and start doing something productive, like contacting them to see if they can bury it or do something to conceal it better. Cite worries of depreciation in resale value as a concern. Can’t find who to call? Just file a BBB complaint, those don’t get handled by standard CS and won’t get kicked back to them for a callback.

  97. beavis88 says:

    Dear dumbasses,

    Go to your registrar of deeds and check the easements on your particular parcel. I can just about guarantee that Comcast was within their rights to do just this, and, that you should (or at least could) have known about it before even making an offer on the property.

    Now, they may be able to get something done about disturbing the grass without reseeding, but the box is there to stay.

  98. Osi says:

    Dear two dumbasses above …

    Learn to read the comments you are replying to. They talk about both right-of-way and easements and violations there of ..

    Really, some people are mentally retarded.

  99. akede2001 says:

    @Jinx: You seem to be one of those mentally retarded people, as you so aptly put it. Your response just screams troll, as I find it hard to believe that you could truly be that stupid.

    Do these gems of wisdom seem familiar?:

    “If it is on your property, you are in your rights to destroy it and dump it on the company’s front door. It is known as vandalism if a company installed that on your property with no consent from you.”

    “However, City laws dictate that they can steal land and not pay you for stealing land.”

    “If the city complains, tell them to shove it. It’s their land, they take care of it.”

    They should. They’re asinine statements that you made. First, the city is not stealing your land. You already gave rights for them to use it. And it’s not on your property, because it’s an easement. So if you DO destroy it, then your ass will be facing some hefty fines.

    You clearly aren’t a property owner.. and if you are, you aren’t a very bright one. Maybe renting is more your style.

    Now, let’s move on to your most recently remarks. First, neither of the posts you are referencing state that “ALL POSTS ABOVE” are wrong. They either make no distinction, or state “many of the posts”.

    With that being said, go play grown up somewhere else. Or go play property destruction somewhere, that seems to be your style. Didn’t get many hugs, huh?

  100. Rachacha says:

    Well the alternative to having underground utilities and having bokes in your front yard would be to have utility poles and overhead lines and large signal amplifiers stuck to the poles. Or you could move to the middle of nowhere and go completely “off the grid” with no electricity, no wired phone service, no internet and no cable television.

    Generally speaking, these utility boxes are placed on or at the property line, this way a single box is ready to supply a signal to several homes.

  101. Rachacha says:

    Boxes not Bokes

  102. Osi says:

    @akede2001:

    Please let me know when you learn how to read and type. Only then, perhaps, your incoherent responses will start to make sense.

  103. forgottenpassword says:

    The whole “right of way” excuse to do anything & get away with it is BS! When I was growing up on a farm…. the local utility (dont know exactly what it was but I think it was the water utility) was putting in a new line (pipeline?) & was digging a trench all along the roadside on peoples’ property. My parents had a large amount of land in which they kept horses on. The workers demolished a section of fence & never bothered replacing it or even half-assedly fixing it…. just left it wide open. ANd they never even informed my parents. Well a horse got out & was hit by a passing truck. Then the lawsuit started & caused my parents all kinds of grief for my parents. And the utility company went into bunker-mode denying all responsibility for demolishing the fence & not informing my parents.

    It was a mess!

  104. ConRoo says:

    That box is nothing compared to the wastewater lift stations around here. And, can you remember the ugly gas meters that grace many older neighborhoods? Nasty, but untouchable!

    Plant a bush or call your town’s utility commission to complain. Most town governments don’t like unsightly things around.

  105. nikalseyn says:

    They have the right to put the box in their right of way, which in michigan is 33 feet from the center of the road, as they pay their franchise fee to the local authority. Of course, they also should use common sense as to where to place it, but face it, these contractors are not the brightest lights in the chandelier. You have two choices: 1. if it is on your property and not the right of way, call and tell them to move it, and give a deadline for action. If not complied, destroy it. and 2. if it is on the right of way, destroy it and then feign ignorance as to what happened to that cute little green box. A burglar perhaps? or someone with a green box fetish?

  106. u1itn0w2day says:

    Being a utility they have a right of way but isn’t that mostly for mandatory or necessary services.With all the optional services that run through a “utility’s” line now a days shouldn’t the right of way be redefined.How is bringing a customer HBO or youtube a necessary or mandatory service.

  107. Televiper says:

    @SexCpotatoes: It has to be above ground because there’s no air flow at all underground. They can’t ventilate it if it’s underground because then it would act like a storm drain when it pours.

    They put it back from the sidewalk because you need space between the sidewalk and any utility devices. You know.. so kids don’t scrape up against it riding their bikes, and for snow removal, etc (if necessary).

    This is a fact of life when you have underground wiring. It’s also too bad they can’t put it on the boulevard or make it less intrusive. But, they’re not going to get pretty either.

  108. @cyberkoko: Look at the picture. It’s quite clearly placed on the grass.

  109. nequam says:

    @Buran: Oh c’mon, Buran, you don’t know where the easement is. In fact, considering there is no tree belt in the photo, one would assume there is a utility easement running a few feet onto the lawn itself.

  110. yikz says:

    @aphex242: Clearly, you need to open your eyes. That IS the front of the house. That is not a severe angle in the picture.
    That box IS an eyesore. I don’t care if it affects resale value at all, it’s ugly, and it doesn’t need to be there. It’s the result of a company that is trying to pull a fast one on the homeowners. The last thing this world needs is more idiots that think crap like that is OK in everyone’s front yard.

  111. mzs says:

    Oh comcast… Back where I used to live new houses went up around mine after ours was finished. I had the plat and there were two utilities easements but comcast could not seem to be bothered by them at all and just buried cables where ever they pleased.

    First time they went across the yard, after that I built a swing set for the kids and when I was staking it in I broke the cable. They fixed it, by going across the yard again.

    The second time I was building a fence and the auger cut the cable that went across the yard and across a stream. When they fixed that they did the right thing and built a tunnel under the stream but again not in the right of way and what is worse they broke an 8 foot section of my new fence.

    They would not fix it saying it was not them but a contractor and I would need to contact them with the disconnected number that they provided me.

    After that it was an all out war. Every time they buried cable not in the right of way, I broke it out of spite. My neighbors must have been very relieved when I moved out, some got satellite.

  112. Bruce says:

    They wanna place a big fugly box on my property. Fine, I’m burying a big ass coil of wire wrapped around a big steel bar right next to it, hooked up to the dryer outlet and a timer randomly set between 7-10PM.

    After thousands of service calls, they would probably move the box.

    Too bad my Gopher zapper caused them so many problems.

    Tsk tsk tsk…

  113. Xkeeper says:

    Back at home, we had one of these; except it was a much smaller, thinner post of the same green color.

    The only difference is that they were usually at the bleeding edge of the property, usually next to a lightpost or something so they wouldn’t look out of place. That’s just, um, ugly.

    Although as somebody said, the subway elevator right next to it doesn’t help either.

  114. kc2idf says:

    Last I knew, the ground makes a wonderful heat sink. Redesign your equipment, for crying out loud!

  115. darundal says:

    @Serpephone: The shrubbery idea is a bad thing. In my neighborhood one time, some guy had the same idea. What ended up happening is that the power for our street “mysteriously” died for a while, at which point someone from the utility company came down, cut through the shrubs, and replaced the equipment in the box. Then, the homeowner had to pay for the cost of labor/materials because it was his genius idea to surround the thing with shrubs which caused it to overheat. In the end, he lost the shrubs, managed to piss off everyone on the street, and was out whatever the power company wanted to charge for parts and labor.

  116. SinA says:

    in my town, or least my neighborhood, hvac units and utilities are required by law to be located on the side or rear of the house, so the green yard box would be a violation

  117. femmme.fatal says:

    comcast is taking over the world, one lawn at a time

  118. barty says:

    @SinA: Have you not read the couple of dozen posts regarding easements?

    The government is who established the easement in the first place.

    Most of you making all of these wild claims are probably the same lot saying that these homeowners who signed up for these kooky loans aren’t to blame for their own actions. When I bought my home, I had to acknowledge that there was a utility easement (not much of one, but it was there) that ran up one side of my property line. It should have been explained to these people that the easement could potentially mean someone digging up the yard to run power, water, gas, etc., in that area. Traditionally these easements are run up one of the property lines between two plots, but with these tiny lots they’re carving up today, there probably isn’t enough room.

  119. sean77 says:

    Maybe it’s just because I’m in Arizona, but this isn’t news at all. Cable, phone, and power companies have been putting boxes in your front yard for decades.

    We have a small green box that sits about a foot from the sidewalk, right between my house and my neighbors house.

  120. rlmiller007 says:

    Some of you are industrial strength stupid. Of course there is a right of way and an easement. If you look to the left on the ground you can see what are probably undergroung access for water. The comcast box is exactly where it needs to be. Want to know about your easment? If your water connection breaks on the side toward the street the water company has to fix it. If it breaks anywhere on the side toward your house YOU get to pay for it. Also if this is access for water bury the electrical parts in the Comc ast box may not be possible. So take a picture of it down to your city/franchise and find out what the requierments are and quit whining.

  121. crankitupyo says:

    I don’t think any of these people realize that they dont own the easement. It is public property even if they put a piece of sod on top of it.