There are around 47,000 telephone boxes on Britain's streets, as indicated by BT, who run most of them. Before long, there'll be one less.
On Great Portland Street, close to the BBC's Broadcasting House, a notification stuck to a steel and glass telephone booth announces: "Telephone kiosk review. This kiosk is not being used sufficiently to continue service at this location."
It's not unusual that it's not getting much use. Somebody has crushed the handset. You could dial a number, the keypad is still there, however nobody would hear you.
With such a large number of mobile telephones around nowadays, it’s surprising that the quantity of telephone boxes in the UK is still so high. Will they all be gone soon?
How do BT decide a telephone box should be pulled out of the ground?
The decision is usually made based on whether there’s still an interest in utilising the payphone. If the payphone is required for some other social need, for instance a suicide hotspot or an accident blackspot location.
Over the last 10 years, we've seen the use of payphones decrease by more than 90%. In the meantime, obviously, mobile phone selection has gone the other way - so there's 93% adoption of mobile handsets.
Who in the UK hasn't got a mobile telephone? All things considered, nowadays you can get one for £10. Who needs a payphone?
There are a few groups of people that don't have mobile phones. The elderly; youngsters make good use of payphones; furthermore, when individuals' batteries go flat. At that point they have to find a payphone.
Ofcom rules that BT can't take out a payphone unless there's another one within a 400m radius. If there isn’t a payphone within 400m then the council have to be consulted first, if the council objects then the payphone stays.
There's continually going to be a telephone box close to the Severn Bridge, for instance. Inside are presentations of Samaritans advice and numbers to call to address somebody who can offer assistance.
On the off chance that you want to keep a specific telephone box, however BT say it's not paying it’s way, what would you be able to do?
One person in Dorking decided to obstruct the BT truck and prevent them from removing the phone box. The phone box had been part of the village scene for many years. The box is still there without a phone but will soon house a defibrillator (heart start machine). The road was a very busy road with many accidents occurring, the emergency services and community are now able to take advantage of this resource should it be required.
It seems like the phone box will survive.
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