Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dutch Telecom company KPN stops running the phone box


I see in the on-line newspaper I'm reading that KPN is going to stop supporting public phone boxes, now that the penetration of mobile phones has reached such a high level in the Netherlands. In some areas, like shopping centres, public phones will still be available. They will either be new ones plastered with advertisements, or one of the 250 existing ones that a company called RBL Telecom is going to take over from KPN. The remaining 750 currently run by KPN will be scrapped.

Three years ago the legal obligation for KPN to provide public callboxes (1 per five thousand inhabitants) was scrapped. Back in 2008, there were then 4000 phone boxes in the Netherlands, of which 1800 were not making enough money to make it worthwhile to maintain. The peak of 20,000 boxes was reached around the year 2000. I guess they have been recycled by now.

I have been taking photos of phone boxes for years, anticipating their demise. May be I can use them on a panel game at some point in the future. I find the boxes illustrated here to be the most interesting. Most people immediately say this shot was made in London. In fact, it is down-town Buenos Aires. The British built a lot of the communications infrastructure in South America. And so the phone boxes (and the letter boxes) too make use of a very imperial looking design.
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