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Take Your Selfies Now, Britain's Red Phone Boxes Face Uncertain Future

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 18/03/2016 Riley Arthur
ATHENA IMAGE © Maciej Noskowski via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

England has something for everyone: the tudor home of Shakespeare, a football match at Manchester United, even the small chance of spotting the royal family. But let's face it, a picture with a red phone box is the real reason you want to hop the pond!

Once named the greatest British design in history, the red phone box is a beloved icon.

At the height of popularity there were once 92,000 phone boxes throughout the U.K. In 2015, the number of working boxes dropped to 9,400. According to a report British Telcom gave The Independent, “more than two-thirds of phone boxes now fail to cover their costs, including 12,000 rural kiosks where less than one call a month is made.” BT’s recent efforts to modernize these boxes in a cellphone age include solar-powered boxes to charge cell phones, wifi and defibrillators. 

Many of the remaining boxes are poorly maintained, largely due to cost, vandalism repairs have cost BT £5.2 million or roughly $7.5 million.

British communities are taking matters into their own hands with the Adopt a Kiosk program, which includes refurbishing decommissioned boxes into libraries, cafes, or galleries. BT has also started selling off red phone boxes, increasingly to foreign markets. 

With a decline in demand, an unprofitable system and high demands for repair, the days of the British red phone booth may be numbered. London's calling, book your flight now! 

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