BT is actually to scrap half of the UK’s remaining 40,000 telephone boxes in addition to focus on the ones in locations where people are more likely to use them.
In 1992 at their peak before mobile phones became common, there were 92,000 phone boxes from the UK.
Telephone boxes still handle 33,000 calls a day, yet one third of kiosks are never used to make a call.
BT said many phone boxes had become a burden in addition to were expensive to repair in addition to maintain.
£6m to maintain
“BT is actually committed to providing a public payphone service, yet with usage declining by over 0% from the last decade, we continue to review in addition to remove payphones which are no longer used,” a BT spokesperson told the BBC.
BT intends to scrap the 20,000 telephone boxes over the next several years.
Out of the 40,000 phone booths still working, 7,000 are the traditional red phone boxes designed in 1935 to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V.
More than half of phone boxes lose money in addition to the number of calls is actually declining by more than 20% per year.
The cost of maintaining telephone boxes annually is actually about £6m. BT is actually responsible for repairing damage to the kiosks, including replacing glass panes in addition to broken receivers, as well as removing graffiti, rubbish in addition to human waste.
This particular is actually estimated of which 93% of all people from the UK currently own a mobile phone, in addition to 98% of the UK has 3G or 4G mobile internet coverage.
However, phone booths are still used by children, the elderly, people who can’t afford mobile phones, in addition to in emergencies when smartphone batteries go flat.
If there are two kiosks within 400m walking distance of a site, BT is actually allowed to remove one, as long as there is actually one left.
yet if the telecoms provider seeks to remove the only phone booth on the site, Ofcom rules state BT must inform the public in addition to consult with the local authorities. The authority then has 0 days to object, which is actually known as a “local veto”.
“Payphone removals are carried out in strict adherence to Ofcom guidelines in addition to, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities. Where we receive objections coming from the local authority, we won’t remove the payphone,” said BT.
Adopt a kiosk
In areas where telephone boxes are not being used, many local communities have transformed in addition to preserved phone booths by buying them for £1 coming from BT under the Adopt a Kiosk scheme.
So far, more than 4,000 kiosks have been repurposed as mini-libraries in addition to art galleries or to house defibrillation machines, information centres, shops in addition to exhibitions.
BT is actually also replacing phone booths with high-tech InLinkUK kiosks of which come with ultra-fast 1Gbps Wi-Fi hotspots, a touchscreen offering information in addition to directions, free UK landline in addition to mobile phone calls, in addition to two USB smartphone charging ports.
Over 750 InLinkUK kiosks are being installed in London in addition to some other cities across the UK.