Friday 23 February 2018

Ever wonder why there are still payphones around Ireland? Here's why

Eircom is obliged to provide a public payphone service.
Eircom is obliged to provide a public payphone service.
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Telecoms provider Eir will be frustrated by the latest ruling from communications regulator ComReg, which has declined its request for changes to the criteria of its universal service obligation (USO).

Under the current parameters Eir can only remove payphones if they are the focus of anti-social behaviour or if their usage averages less than  one minute a day over a six-month period.

According to a report in the Irish Examiner, ComReg has since rejected a request from Eir to change its USO.

The paper reports that Eir sought the usage threshold to be increased to an average of two minutes a day over six months as well as additional removals to the criteria.

Eir argues that the penetration of mobile phones means that it can no longer warrant the imposition of payphones.

ComReg said payphones are being provided as a backup and are provided for use by anyone.

Meanwhile a women's organisation for domestic violence warned that the payphones should be maintained so that women at risk of abuse can use the phones to call their helpline.

Women's Aid wrote to ComReg saying that many women who call them for help have their own phone use monitored by abusive partners.

"We know that some women who call our helpline sometimes use payphones to make the call. This may be because it is the only private space they have or they have no mobile phone or landline.

"It may also be that women are afraid of their partner's behaviour and how he monitors their every move, including what calls they make."

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