Fourth AT&T Cable Box Explodes, Darn You, Lithium-Ion Batteries!

Another of AT&T’s big metal cable boxes placed on people’s lawns has exploded. The system’s lithium-metal-polymer batteries are the culprit, prompting AT&T to replace 17,000 of them. Four of the U-Verse cabinets have exploded since the program began. reports:

The batteries came from Avestor, a Canadian company that went bankrupt in October 2006. AT&T stopped installing the batteries in early 2007, after the first incident, Coe said. AT&T also hired a consultant to investigate their safety, but was told the batteries posed no greater risk than alternative batteries from other suppliers.

Oops, looks like they got that one wrong.

Here’s what they look like before they explode:


Your World Delivered . . . On Fire [Save Access]
AT&T Begins Massive Battery Replacement [Light Reading] (Thanks to Danger Mouse & David!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Damn! If AT&T want to put those potential fireballs in people’s yards, then they should have to pay for their house insurance too.

  2. MickeyMoo says:

    And we’re absolutely sure there were no FIOS installers within the vicinity at the time of the explosions?

  3. shadow735 says:

    Well I guess we know why Avestor (company that created the batteries) went bankrupt.

  4. Wow, thats a bigger boom boom than Verizon FiOS

  5. Is there a difference between “Lithium-Ion” versus “Lithium-metal-polymer” batteries? If so, this entry’s title is a little misleading.

  6. dvddesign says:

    “Insert snarky comment about explosions here”

    I’m a U-Verse customer. I hope AT&T’s taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen nationwide and is doing so quickly. I like this service too much to see it end up dead because of a faulty hardware failure that AT&T ignores.

  7. calvinneal says:

    I would like to clear up some misconceptions.The 4 pictures captioned “what they look like before they explode” have absolutely no connection to the Uverse boxes. They show various remote facilities which serve fiber distribution and remote switching. All four of these type facilities have been deployed nationwide in both the United states and Canada by all communication providers for at least 30 years. None of the four pictures depict equipment which distributes Uverse. I understand that there are persons who are very upset that the boxes are being placed in front easements; however; is this any different than the electric company sticking a pole in front of your house? All utility companies including ATT are granted right of way to install facilities. Unlike electric, most communication infrastructure in the United States is buried.The easements are usually the same as the ones for natural gas, cable television, sewer and water etc. The homeowner does not own the easement per se’. This is not someone’s yard.It appears ATT is doing the right thing here and replacing every battery in its system.

  8. FLConsumer says:

    Blame Kevin Mitnick! They did back in the 1990’s.

  9. outofoffice says:

    I agree with the post by CALVINNEAL. A U-Verse box was installed near my home in December and is not any of the four pictured, all but the fourth photo are clearly older equipment.

  10. FLConsumer says:

    Putting things in easements is one thing, but the AT&T UVerse boxes are HUGE! Here’s a pic of the actual AT&T box which exploded in Houston:

    Compared to that thing, a power pole is minimal. I understand that the utilities need to deploy equipment here & there, but that’s not what the original purpose of easements were. If I were this homeowner, I would want rent from AT&T for the space, visual blight and reduced property value that box causes.

  11. Landru says:

    AT&T just deployed the white boxes all over my neighborhood. They are terrible eyesores. Graffitti magnets.

  12. JiminyChristmas says:

    Usually when people buy a piece of property the entities which have easements on it have already done their thing. E.g: laid the sidewalk, put in the pipes and wires, etc., so the issue never crosses their mind. Ergo, people are often rudely surprised when the holder of an easement comes onto their property long after they’ve settled in.

    Property owners should take a hard look at the lot survey and title documents before they buy. If there’s an easement, and a major disturbance or alteration of that area would pose a problem, think twice. Easement holders, especially 800-pound gorillas like public utilities, can have a lot of leeway as to how they exercise their rights.

  13. Bakachan says:

    @dvddesign: Explosions and shit catching on fire tend to be sort of hard to ignore. ;) (Though AT&T did their level-best to try and not have to replace the batteries…)

  14. jonworld says:

    My crappily-installed directTV satellite dish got completely ripped off my house and destroyed Christmas Eve by a windstorm, the Comcast servicepeople are the most ignorant motherf*ckers around, and now AT&T has exploding cable boxes! The world is running out of good Cable/Internet providers!