Universal service obligation

  oresome 09:38 19 May 2009

What can sometimes be used less than once per year and yet costs £1000 per year to maintain?

The public telephone box.

The total cost of providing them amounts to £44 million per year and at present BT foot the bill. They think it's unfair and want the mobile operators to share the burden.

When did you last use one.........to make a phone call that is.

click here

  laurie53 10:27 19 May 2009

I know it sounds harsh, and I live in a rural area, but as these are now seen as a public service they should be provided from the public purse..

I don't see that a private company should have to maintain them, any more than, for instance, a fuel chain should be forced to keep open a loss making rural petrol station, or a pub chain a loss making village pub.

  OTT_Buzzard 10:55 19 May 2009

I guess that begs the question as to whether the fuel chain or pub chain are responsible for the outlets making a loss in the first place, through elevated prices in areas they know there isn't mass trade....

  bjh 10:59 19 May 2009

It's many years since I used one. However, there's a pretty one in my village here in East Anglia, just along the road, opposite the pub and near the church and letterbox, with the village notice board as well, and the wide kerb where the butcher's van and library park up... our "mall", if you like!

It is definitely part of village life, and does get used occasionally by some of the older folk who don't have a fixed landline. Maybe they can't afford one, maybe they'd use it so little, maybe they don't want one... Whatever the reason, it is used, if only occasionally.

I've had four phone calls this morning, none of any consequence. I suspect the occasional use by these elderly (and some poor) folk is of far more importance to them than I can imagine. I am physically isolated here but, unlike those elderly folk, I have a car, phone, TV and radio, job (with expenses claim to do this afternoon!!!) and internet, where I can chat with all you lovely lot.

Mobile operators to help share the bill? Why not! We get appalling signal here, so maybe they can stick a mini-mast in the phone box!!!!

  Bingalau 11:18 19 May 2009

bjh. Sounds like an ideal place to live to me.. Even more so if the pub and post office are still open.

  jack 15:08 19 May 2009

Where a facility existed [ that is the line and exchange equipment is in place- BT offer to reinstate if the local community -via parish council/local authority to foot the cost - less income on behalf of the local populace

  Charence 21:25 19 May 2009

I used one to phone BT to setup a new phone line last year.

jack's suggestion is not bad. If that happens, who profits (?) from the phone calls? I would prefer my mobile phone charges to not rise though, they're high enough already.

Another thing I don't understand (slightly off-topic but cost related) is why the locals insist on smashing the windows?!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 22:34 19 May 2009

Disappearing services

click here / click here

click here

click here

  Charence 00:15 20 May 2009

I like the 1st picture :) haha..

  Si_L 01:32 20 May 2009

The last time I used one was about 2 weeks ago, in the rare circumstance that my phone was dead and I had no change or wallet, I had to make a reverse call. There was a row of 6 booths, and I remember it took a few attempts to find one that didn't have vomit or a smell of urine in it, or both.

Last time before that was many, many years ago.

With practically every person owning a mobile these days, I don't think there is much call for them. £1000 a year does not justify their existence in my opinion.

  oresome 09:56 20 May 2009

I alluded to the fact that they seem to be used as public toilets in the last line of my opening message.

Not somewhere you would want to make a phone call from unless there was no alternative.

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