Do something useful with the telephone boxes

The telephone boxes in the borough are useless. They have fancy screens and give the impression you can browse the internet on them, but it’s very restrictive. I have played around with them and the data is bland and not particularly useful. I believe this article is a great summary:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/telephone-phone-boxes-surveillance-british-culture-public-space-london-long-reads-westminster-a8569096.html

You could easily run a restricted OS on them like Windows 10 S or Google Chrome and allow people to browse the internet for a restricted set of sites. Even the current map functionality could easily be enhanced by allowing someone to click to ask for directions from that phone box to wherever it was they needed to go.

You could also allow people to charge their devices from them, so tourists in an emergency could simply plug their phone in an allow them to browse the internet from their own devices.

Clearly these could be abused, so that needs to be considered, but currently they just seem like a waste of space and money given how limited they are. I don’t even know who uses public telephones these days – if my phone was dead, I have no idea what anyone’s number is to call them (including my wife), so it’s a bit pointless. It’s clearly useful for emergency numbers, but not much more than that.

Here are a few interesting articles on what they could be, it just needs a little imagination:
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/bt-scrapping-phone-boxes-alternative-use

There’s already a lot of public backlash against these ones that have been cropping up everywhere in London. I think Croydon should pioneer it’s own better version of these as a shining beacon to all the other councils.

1 thought on “Do something useful with the telephone boxes

  1. I’ve been campaigning against Google/BT’s InLinkUK kiosks in the UK. Many of the criticisms of that system also apply to their competitors such as JCDecaux and InFocus/Pulse.

    You can track planning applications and media coverage of these kiosks on my site here:

    https://kiosks.adrianshort.org

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