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Bye bye, high street phone booths

Call boxes shunned in favour of mobile phones

High street telephone boxes are under threat after telco watchdog Oftel today gave permission to BT to remove redundant booths.

The popularity of mobile phones has resulted in a major drop in the use of phone boxes, but Oftel's director general David Edmonds highlighted that Britain has always had more phone boxes than the rest of Europe anyway.

But Oftel assured users that phone boxes wouldn't just disappear.

"BT is only going to be allowed to take away call boxes where there is more than one box on the same sight," said Edmonds.

As part of its plan to 'clean up' existing boxes, Oftel is currently seeking new consumer contracts which would prevent the use of residential numbers for commercial purposes. By barring numbers advertised on the offensive cards left in phone booths, the scheme would discourage people from posting them in the first place.

Oftel said that telephone boxes would not be removed from areas of "high social need" and in rural areas.


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