Page last updated at 00:59 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 01:59 UK

Red phone box 'adoption' extended

telephone box
Towns and villages can keep phone boxes - even if they have no function

BT has extended the deadline for local councils to help save red telephone boxes from being scrapped.

The cut-off point for applications to "adopt" or sponsor phone boxes has been extended from 1 October to 1 November to give councils more time to respond.

The telecoms giant reviewed its policy of removing boxes when they were no longer profitable in August 2008.

Phoneless kiosks will be allowed to remain or councils can pay 500 per year to keep a phone inside a box.

The 500 annual fee is about half the cost faced by BT.

'National identity'

John Lumb of BT Payphones said even though many people no longer use the phone boxes, the company recognised the "iconic red kiosk" was a focal point for communities, especially in rural areas.

"We are delighted to extend the application deadline to 1 November 2008 so that as many as possible can remain," he said.

Philip Davies, planning and development director of English Heritage, said the extension was a "welcome announcement".

"[The British red phone boxes] are an important symbol of national identity, and make a significant contribution to the character and appearance of many historic areas across the country," he said.

There were about 95,000 BT payphones across the UK in 2002.

However, the growth of the mobile phone has meant usage has dropped dramatically, and 31,000 have been removed since then.

BT previously said almost 60% of its UK payphones were unprofitable with about 6,000 used to make less than one call a month.

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27 Aug 04 |  Business

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