As figures indicate that over 150,000 calls to the emergency services were made from UK telephone boxes last year, new regulations will ensure protection of up to 5,000.

  • Ofcom’s new regulations will protect 5,000 telephone boxes from being removed 
  • UK currently has 21,000 phones boxes with over 150,000 calls in the past year.
  • Around 25.000 of these calls were for Childline, and another 25.000 to Samaritans. 

Ofcom has proposed new rules that could protect thousands upon thousands of UK-based payphones. 

If they satisfy certain criteria, the regulator stated that it would like to protect phones boxes from being taken away. It It is estimated that up to 5,000 telephone boxes can be protected.

Payphones that are not covered by any of the four networks or those located in areas considered to be an accident hotspot or suicide hotspot will also qualify.

Other exceptional situations include issues related to location, such as those located in areas with poor mobile reception or those who have called the helpline number.

Ofcom reported that 21,000 boxes are located across the nation and that nearly 150,000 calls to emergency services were made from boxes during the year up to May 2020. Childline received approximately 25,000 calls and Samaritans received over 20,000. 

Ofcom said there are around 21,000 boxes across the country, and that almost 150,000 calls were made to emergency services from phone boxes in the year to May 2020

Ofcom reported that the nation has approximately 21,000 telephone boxes and nearly 150,000 phone calls to emergency services were made through these phones in the past year.

KCOM and BT, which operate Hull’s white telephone boxes, can offer to take out phone boxes not meeting the criteria. However Ofcom stated that formal consultation must be done with local communities prior to any actions being taken.

Selina Chadha (Ofcom’s director for connectivity) said that pay phones can provide a lifeline’ to people who are in desperate need.

According to her, “Some of our call boxes are only used for relatively small calls.” If a call comes in from an injured child or someone who is contemplating suicide, the public telephone line may be of help.

The regulator said it wants to safeguard phone boxes from removal if they meet certain criteria

According to the regulator, it is willing to protect phone boxes against being removed if certain conditions are met

“We want to ensure that those without cell coverage in rural areas can still make phone calls. We’re also planning to help roll out new phones with wireless charging and free WiFi.

Ofcom stated that BT, KCOM and other payphone manufacturers must install batteries to ensure they work during power cuts.

The regulator said that under BT’s ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme – which allows local bodies to purchase a red phone box for £1 and use it for something else – more than 6,000 have been converted to things like community libraries, or are used to store public defibrillators.