For whom the bell tolls . . . line goes dead for phone boxes
IN the age of mobile phones, blackberries and blueberries, the final bell is tolling for the traditional public phone box.
Ireland's largest telecommunications operator Eircom has announced that it is to remove over 400 telephone boxes throughout the country due to lack of use.
As figures published by the communications regulator reveal, there are now as many mobile phones as there are people in Ireland.
As a result, Eircom have confirmed that they are to begin dramatically reducing the 2,500 public phone booths that are currently available nationwide.
"We are getting rid of the phones due to lack of use, vandalism and generally because there is not as much of a requirement for them as there would have been in the past.
"Pay-phone boxes used to be a necessity to ensure that people could conveniently communicate with others. Now mobile phones have replaced a lot of that need and the demand for phone boxes has been significantly reduced."
However, the Eircom spokesperson went on to say that, although the company has been taking steps to keep abreast with changing methods of communication, there will always be a need for a certain number of public phone booths.
"We now have over 150 internet kiosks available nationwide which allow people to access the internet and to check their emails. We also have 200 kiosks which have wireless broadband. So we are trying to adapt payphones to the requirements of today's consumer. It's a sign of the changing times.
"There will still always be a need for public phone boxes. Whether it is from tourists or whether it is from a person whose mobile phone has broken, or their battery or credit has run out. There will always be somewhat of a requirement for payphones."
In the meantime, the company has moved to reassure members of the public that they will be given the opportunity to appeal the removal of phone booths in their area.
"There will be a process in place to allow people the opportunity to voice their opinions before the phone boxes are removed. Every payphone that has been nominated for removal will have a notice sign displayed in the weeks prior to its removal."