BT has once again called upon local communities from across England and Wales to help adopt one of their old public phone boxes, many of which are now standing disused, for just £1 in order to “turn them into something inspirational” for their local area (i.e. a change of use from being adopted as a public toilet by revellers).
The “Adopt a Kiosk” programme has been running since 2008 and last June the operator revealed that 5,000 had already been adopted through this approach, with some being installed with lifesaving defibrillators and others becoming tiny discos (here), mini-libraries, miniature art museums, cake shops and information centres.
Despite this BT has today said that they’ve still got 3,600 traditional red boxes available for adoption across England (c.5,800 have already been adopted) and 400 in Wales (c.400 have already been adopted), although at their height the operator had something like 92,000 public payphones across the UK (today the figure is believed to be closer to 30,000 to 40,000 and half of those are loss making, with many due to be scrapped).
BT have said they will provide free electricity (if already in place) to power the light for adopted kiosks or as housings for defibrillators.
Katherine Bradley, BT’s Senior Payphones Manager, said:
“We’re pleased to be giving even more local communities the chance to adopt a phone box. With more than 5,800 payphones now adopted across the UK, this is a fantastic opportunity for communities to own a piece of history.
The opportunities are endless and we’ve already seen some amazing transformations. Applying is easy and quick and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our traditional BT red payphone boxes.”
Meanwhile BT are also replacing more than 1,000 payphones in major cities across the UK with new digital hubs called (InLinks), which offer free ultrafast public WiFi, free UK phone calls, USB device charging and more.
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments.