A Tale of Two Boxes


Pedestrians stepping over the railway bridge into the heart of Sydenham’s shopping centre had to dodge around an obnoxious obstruction. This disgusting heap was put there by an Italian company IPM (trading as Interphone).

This company had taken over the telephone boxes initially put in by Mercury who failed to make any money out of them and passed them onto NTL who also failed. IPM/Interphone failed and then passed them onto Infolines Premier. Their payphones were never maintained and were neglected. Are you still with us on this journey of failed communication?

According to www.redphonebox.info (UK’s anorak site for phoneboxes) OFTEL, local authorities and members of the Public complained many times about the state of the payphones and Nigel Styne, the managing director of Infolines said; ‘public street payphones are no longer viable due to the increase of mobile phones and payphones are a loss of money’

In 2002 Central Payphones took over Interphone also known as ‘interphone public networks’. They made little effort in 2002 as they were trying too make money to improve the payphones. In 2003 Interphone met with OFTEL and set an agreement that all London payphones should be working by summer 2003. This did not happen and as we saw them fall into graffiti covered disuse.

Well, now there is a new kid on the block, NWP Spectrum. This week they came and ripped out the Interphone eyesore and put a spanking new payphone box into – exactly the same place, facing exactly the same way. Obstructing pedestrians when it could easily have been moved a few feet away. the telephone box is still too close to the shops causing a wind tunnel which rattles their doors – and ripped the door off the old telephone box. Do they never learn?

So will this one go the way of the rest? They have heavy competition from two BT payphones only yards away, mobile phones have made them largely redundant and vandals are all too keen to finish the job…..


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