Phasing out of public payphones continues

Phasing out of public payphones continues
The former Eircom phonebox on Oliver Plunkett Street. Pic: @CorkCityCentre

The days of waiting anxiously for someone to finish their call may be a thing of the past but Cork still has over 100 payphones.

According to the latest available figures, 13 single site payphones and 98 phone boxes with more than one phone remain in the city and county.

Stats compiled by Eir, as required by communications regulator ComReg, show Cork has the second highest number of payphones behind Dublin.

A phone kiosk on Oliver Plunkett St was removed this week by Eir along with a terminal on South Mall. They had been deemed redundant for use by the company.

A spokesperson for Cork City Council said: “[Payphones] will go in time obviously but will probably be phased out over a period of time. Eir removed these two as they were redundant. The former smart telecom pedestals were removed last year for the same reason.

“Telephone boxes are governed by national legislation – the relevant ombudsman carried out a review of policy last year and called for submissions from the public. Basically if a phone is used for more than two minutes a day they are not to be removed and there are other factors at play as well. There are social considerations too obviously, particularly in rural areas,” they added.

Eir are permitted to remove single site payphone if there is evidence of anti-social behaviour or they are used for less than one minute a day. Local authorities can also request their removal.

ComReg conducted a review of the usage threshold review last year and did not sanction any changes in the levels of usage that determine removal.

“Although usage is declining, some public payphones continue to provide a basic voice telephony service to many people,” the report said.

“Public payphones may be particularly valued by disadvantaged and vulnerable consumers.

“We remain of the view that the current level is the most appropriate to ensure the reasonable needs of consumers are met. The current usage level ensures that those most vulnerable in society have the ability to make phone calls, regardless of their reason for needing to do so.”

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