Round Magazine - Sneakers on a wire

Useless Wires

Is this Bangkok or New Jersey?

There are four wires connected to my house but only the electric feeder cable and my FIOS service are doing anything. The old copper telephone wire and a DSL cable are obsolete and dead, but they're still hanging overhead tempting a tall truck to tear them down.

Nobody thinks to remove them when they go out of service.

Across the street, on the poles, are at least 30 wires of every conceivable weight and diameter. The poles bend from the tension and the sky is diminished. According to my local Verizon installer at least half those wires are dead and disconnected too.

Fo the last hundred years or so utilities have been adding more and more wires without removing the old ones. These unsightly overhead wires are an urban blight, a kind of pollution that the utility companies are not required to clean up. In fact, they've never even been asked.

Compared to the wire-free Pasadena, California, where the utilities are underground, my neighborhood looks scarred. Our property values and aesthetics sacrificed to the convenience of big telecom.

Pasadena, California

Bangkok, Thailand

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