CALLING FOR A CHANGE

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Allison Edwards, Staff Writer

Technology has evolved so much that everyone has their own cell phones. A few decades ago many people used telephone booths. The British Telecom (BT) Company owns all of the red phone booths in Britain, which were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in May of 1924. The purpose of the phone booth was to have people make phone calls, but since technology has evolved over time, their uses are slowly declining. These phone booths are icons in Britain and everyone knows about them. The “eight-foot-tall beacons conjure a romanticised vision of the United Kingdom,” said Charlotte Luxford, editor for the magazine Culture Trip. 

Phone booths in the United Kingdom are being taken down due to the expenses of repairing and maintaining them. “There were once more than 70,000 red kiosks [phone booths] and now only 10,000 remain on the streets,” claimed Stephen Moss, who works as an editor for The Guardian. Over time, the phone booths have disappeared since most are not in service. The BT Company has a new criteria in order for these phone booths to stay up. These booths will “need to be used at least 52 times over a 12-month period for it to stay in service,” stated Bill Chappell, a writer for npr.org. “If a kiosk is in an area identified as an accident or suicide hotspot, it can’t be removed,” stated Chappell. In the United Kingdom, 96% of people have cell phones. By the end of 2025 the old phone systems will be shut off, so any remaining kiosks will have to be revived to protocol standards. 

Keeping these kiosks can help in an emergency by just one call. According to Chappell, phone booths have been converted to “community libraries, or to house life-saving public defibrillators.” Defibrillators are portable devices that can make the heart achieve a normal heartbeat again if it stops. These are used in hospitals and many people have them in their homes. Selina Chadha, Ofcom’s director of connectivity, stated,/ If one of those calls is from a distressed child, an accident victim or someone contemplating suicide, that public phone line can be a lifeline at a time of great need.Keeping these kiosks can be a great deal of help to the community and may save lives.