While watching random videos shot in the USA (in the present time), I've noticed these little weird outdoors boxes:


What is the purpose of these? They look like they might be related to ventilation or something, but they are pretty far away from the nearby buildings. We certainly have no such "mystery boxes" where I live, and I don't even have a good guess what they might be for.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Did you notice there are no overhead power lines in the street? These are most likely electricity "junction" boxes for underground power cables. I've seen similar green boxes in front yards in suburbs. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Mar 13, 2020 at 12:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The electrical boxes are typically steel vaults, substantially larger and always locked to prevent prospective Darwin Award winners from accepting the award. $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Mar 13, 2020 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


Almost anything can be in those pedestals, but the more common inhabitant would be cable television related. The smaller ones are for subscriber taps, while the larger ones contain amplifiers or interface devices. Fiber optic cables are used for longer distances, while there are interface devices to convert from fiber to coaxial feeder lines to the subscriber taps and to the house.

The design of the one in the photo is likely cable television. Others you'll see can be telephone service devices, but are usually metal boxes and more angular.

  • $\begingroup$ They are very common in areas where there are no overhead utility lines (everything is buried). $\endgroup$
    – jko
    Mar 13, 2020 at 11:49

I am with the Charter cable here in Los Angeles and there is a box very similar to this on the sidewalk near my house that is their connection box.

One time we had problem with our connection and their tech had to change a board on that box.

He said that somebody had broken into the box to steal parts but alarms must have shaken him.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.