Iconic Red UK Phone Booths Are Here to Stay, Despite Closure Concerns

Iconic Red UK Phone Booths Are Here To Stay, Despite Closure Concerns

(ReliableNews.org) – The United Kingdom’s red phone booths are iconic, appearing in many television shows and movies. The booths have become one of the most recognizable parts of the rainy British landscape. And now the government’s telecommunications regulatory agency is saving thousands from being removed.

There are about 21,000 red telephone booths in use in the UK. Although they became largely unnecessary due to the proliferation of smartphones, people do still use them. According to Ofcom, residents used the phones to make nearly 150,000 phone calls to emergency services from May 2019 to May 2020. The regulator protected 5,000 booths and will keep them working in areas with poor cell phone coverage as well as areas with a high rate of suicides and accidents. In those places, people used the booths more than 50 times in the last year. Saving just one life can justify those boxes.

The booths are also being repurposed in other ways. Some communities are using them as mini libraries to provide books to their neighborhoods. Across the region, 1,000 of them now house life-saving defibrillators.

As for the ones that were recently saved, Selina Chadha, the agency’s director of connectivity, told the Associated Press that even though some of the phone booths aren’t used often, their presence is worth it if they are used to make a call that saves “a distressed child, an accident victim or someone contemplating suicide.”

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