AT&T soon will bring its new U-verse service - and corresponding equipment - to Naperville.
Beginning this month, the company will install the first of 135 utility cabinets around the city to provide enhanced TV, Internet and phone services to paying subscribers.
Greg Jones, project manager for the city, hopes increased competition among service providers will benefit residents.
"It will provide them with a choice in these services and with choice hopefully comes a lower price tag," he said.
The city also will receive 5 percent of AT&T's gross revenues from services within Naperville.
Just over a year ago, city officials were fighting the proposed installation of AT&T equipment due to a lack of control over where it would be placed and concern that full services wouldn't be provided citywide.
However, in June 2007, the state legislature approved the Cable and Video Competition and Customer Protection Law that clears up some of those issues.
The city will now oversee installation of the cabinets and must approve each location.
The boxes will be installed near existing AT&T facilities, most of which are on public property in parkways. If necessary, some also could be placed in public utility easements on private property.
"We'll look for the least sensitive areas," Jones said. "We're not in the business of trying to drop the boxes in front of people's houses but we're working within constraints and we're going to have to take a practical approach to this."
Boxes will be up to 60 inches high by 40 inches wide and green or tan in color to blend in with the surroundings. Each will take about four to 10 days to complete.
Installing all 135 cabinets will be a three-year project with 15 expected to be in place this year. The city also plans to restore any landscaping that is harmed during the process.
While the 2007 law doesn't mandate full services be available to all residents as the city would have liked, it does provide benchmarks to get closer to that point based on the number of people subscribing.
AT&T U-verse packages start at $44 a month. Among the available TV features are up to 320 channels, more than 45 HD channels, the ability to record up to four programs at once and built-in picture-in-picture.
"With AT&T U-verse TV, customers get everything they want in a video service - and so much more," spokesman Andrew Ross said via e-mail. "It is, quite simply, cooler than cable."
For more information about installation of the cabinets, including exact sites, visit www.naperville.il.us/uverse.aspx.