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Phone booths to be axed?

PUBLISHED: 14:27 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:29 05 July 2010

MORE than 20 telephone boxes in Waveney have been earmarked for closure as communication bosses look to trim the purse strings and cut costs.

Under review are 234 payphones across Suffolk, and the move has led to fears that a number of iconic red telephone boxes could be on the list - along with many more that serve some of the county's smallest communities.

MORE than 20 telephone boxes in Waveney have been earmarked for closure as communication bosses look to trim the purse strings and cut costs.

Under review are 234 payphones across Suffolk, and the move has led to fears that a number of iconic red telephone boxes could be on the list - along with many more that serve some of the county's smallest communities.

BT is currently in consultation with district and borough councils throughout the region and has told them which kiosks have been earmarked for the axe.

The telecommunications company are looking at closing 234 of the 862 phone boxes in Suffolk because they say the number of calls made from payphones has halved in the last three years.

Last night a spokesman for BT said the review would not necessarily lead to the removal of red kiosks because many were listed so could not be demolished.

“BT is committed to providing a public payphone service, however over the years as usage has declined BT has been constantly reviewing and where necessary rationalising its public payphone estate in order to meet demand,” he said. “This is nothing new, and we will continue to do so. Almost 60pc of our payphones are unprofitable, with almost 6,000 phones making less than one call a month. Payphone usage has halved in the last two years and calls are still declining at 20pc year on year.

“Any removal of unprofitable payphones is carried out in strict adherence to the Ofcom guidelines and where appropriate with the consent of the local communities.

“We have also informed them that we will be removing other kiosks where we do not need to consult as this is simply a question of thinning the estate where there are kiosks close together.

“In all instances where there is not another payphone within 400 metres we need the local authority's consent to remove the kiosk and if there is a clear social need for those phones then they won't be removed.”

The number of payphones in Suffolk and the number currently under review

District Number of payphones Number under review

Ipswich 99 9

Suffolk Coastal 163 44

Babergh 126 43

Mid Suffolk 151 53

Waveney 127 22

St Edmundsbury 130 42

Forest Heath 66 21

Total 862 234

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