Consultation Raises Questions about Utility of Unused Phone Boxes

phone box 2How often do you think of using a public call box? Or how often do you even end up using one? BT reported that the number of phone calls made in the last 12 months from the public call box on Glapthorn Road totalled 0.

As part of a review maintaining public payphones, BT has proposed removing the call box, along with several others within East Northamptonshire County. The call box does not have any heritage features, is generally not maintained and is often the target of graffiti.

BT consulted with East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) and asked for comments on the proposal. In its response, the council objected to BT’s proposal to remove the call box on Glapthorn road ‘on the grounds of the lack of reliable mobile signal’ in that area.

The council’s comment perhaps reflects their concern that the presence of a call box could be essential in emergencies if residents were unable to make calls due to poor mobile signals.

However, mobile phone users are able to contact emergency services from a mobile phone without having to be connected to any signal.

As long as the area covered by a network provider, emergency service numbers can be contacted.

Which raises the question about whether public call boxes within communities are in fact necessary in emergencies, and whether it is necessary to retain a call box which has no actual usage by the community.

By Jordan Badiru
May 2017