Two of Burnham-On-Sea’s last remaining payphone boxes are set to be removed, BT has announced this week, blaming the growing use of mobile phones.
The firm has unveiled plans to remove 14 payphones across Sedgemoor, with several in our area.
One call box in Burnham’s Rectory Drive, pictured below, has been used just two times over the past year. Another in Ringstone, West Huntspill has been used for three calls.
And the call box in Burnham’s Berrow Road near the Almshouses has been used only 40 times during the year.
Reacting to the news this week, Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Cllr Andy Brewer said: “It’s a great shame to lose these boxes, but the stats from BT do show they are not used frequently any longer.”
A BT spokesman added: “Under the Universal Service Obligation, BT is required to provide adequate coverage of public payphones. However, BT’s case for removal is that the needs of customers have changed drastically with the increase in mobile phone ownership leading to a complete change in the communications culture – with the overall use of payphones declining by over 90 per cent in the last decade.”
“Furthermore, the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is diminishing all the time with at least 98 per cent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage.”
BT has placed notices in the payphone earmarked for removal to advise residents that a consultation is underway to consider their removal. Comments should be sent before 5pm on Friday September 20th to firstname.lastname@example.org