Time called on iconic red phone boxes in Isle of Man

This telephone box at Derbyhaven is to be removed because of lack of use

This telephone box at Derbyhaven is to be removed because of lack of use

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The red telephone box is an iconic piece of our cultural heritage.

But, because they are not being used enough, Manx Telecom will remove six of them from sites across the island next month.

Their only hope for a reprieve is if the local authority steps in to pay for ongoing maintenance.

A Manx Telecom spokesman said: ‘We manage our estate of 110 public payphones based on guidelines agreed with the island’s Communications Commission.

‘These guidelines, which are publically available on our website, include maintaining individual payphones until such time as their annual revenue falls below £10. Should a payphone’s annual revenue fall below this amount, the unit may be removed.’

The minimum charge to use a phone box is 30p.

Notices have been placed in the six phone boxes under review – located at Derbyhaven, Laxey, Maughold, Patrick, Rushen and Santon.

Inside the phone box at Derbyhaven, a notice states: ‘This kiosk is to be removed week commencing December 16, 2013. Alternative public kiosk is located Market Square, Castletown.’

Manx Telecom says it generated less than £5 in the last 12 months. The spokesman said the decline in the use of payphones had been accelerated by having two separate mobile networks in the island.

In respect of Derbyhaven, he added: ‘Mobile coverage in that area is good, and all houses nearby have fixed line telephones.’

The average annual cost of maintaining a public payphone/kiosk is £585. It covers electricity, cleaning contract, payphone management system supplier support, cash collection, painting, repairs and maintenance. 

The guidelines allow for contribution to maintain any pay phone, should a local authority wish to do so.

Each of the local authorities has been informed.

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