Shropshire Council

BT payphones

We have a set of online resources to support local parish and town councils with regard to BT payphones.

The resources have been developed with Historic Environment colleagues to include FAQ about adopting kiosks, and about caring for kiosks.

The council no longer has the power of veto over removals, following changes made by Ofcom to the universal service obligation placed on BT and KCOM, which came into effect in June 2022 after a period of national consultation. Ofcom have instead replaced the local veto with a set of criteria to assess reasonable user needs prior to the removal of a ‘last at a site’ payphone or public call box (PCB).

The Ofcom criteria sets out to protect last at a site PCBs where:

  • They don't have coverage from all four mobile network providers; or
  • They're located in an area with a high frequency of accidents or suicides; or
  • They've made 52 or more calls over the past 12 months (ie the equivalent of one call per week); or
  • There's other evidence of a reasonable need for the PCB

Please note that PCB adoption can't be made by individuals, and can't take place if the criteria for removal isn't met. For example, BT records may indicate that mobile phone coverage isn't sufficient at a site, or that the PCB in question is the one that they've decided should remain as 'last at a site'. Ofcom advises that: “A site is defined as 400 metres walking distance from the next nearest PCB.”

Ofcom carried out the consultation in November 2021 around proposed changes to the universal service obligation placed upon BT and KCOM. Shropshire Council was one of the 25 respondents to this consultation. Our response is included on this page, along with the subsequent Ofcom report of June 2022.

This page includes any ongoing consultations by BT with ourselves as the 'relevant public body', as well as completed consultations.