BT is to scrap half of the UK's remaining 40,000 telephone boxes by 2022, the company has announced.
With the majority (93 per cent, to be precise) of Brits now wielding a smartphone, demand for physical phone boxes has declined to almsot nothing and most are now in a state of disrepair.
Yet, there are still around 40,000 phone boxes across the UK, 7,000 of which feature the iconic red design. At their peak in 1992 there were 92,000 phone boxes across the country.
BT told the BBC that around 33,000 calls a day are made from phone boxes, but over a third are never used to calls.The cost of maintaining payphones each year is around £6m.
With this in mind, the firm has announced that it plans to get rid of 20,000 of the remaining 40,000 boxes over the next five years.
"BT is committed to providing a public payphone service, but with usage declining by over 90 per cent in the last decade, we continue to review and remove payphones that are no longer used," a BT spokesperson said.
"Payphone removals are carried out in strict adherence to Ofcom guidelines and, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities.
"In all instances where there's no other payphone within 400 metres, we'll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the payphone. Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won't remove the payphone."
Back in October 2016, BT unveiled "modern day phone boxes" in the form of kiosks that offer WiFi speeds up to 1Gbps, mobile phone charging via two USB charging ports, access to maps and, amazingly, even the ability to make free phone calls.
These kiosks, many of which replaced now-defunct phone boxes, also feature sensors for capturing real-time data such as air and noise pollution, outdoor temperature and traffic conditions, which BT said could be useful to local councils to monitor their environments.
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