Harry Potter - Where have all the phone booths gone?

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 01/14/2012 - 15:21.

public telephone booths Bonaire WI 2004

Less than a decade ago we refered to "home telephone", "work telephone", "public telephone' - these descriptions are pretty much history. 

Instead of a phone being in a "place" where you go to use it, our bodies are now the "place" for phones.

No longer do you need telephone wires hooked up to your house - look outside your house you probably have a few dead telephone wires hanging around.

And if you are homeless - like two friends of mine who I have met over the holidays - you must have a cell phone because without a "home phone" you will go completely off the map - not only will you be homeless, you will be disconnected.


Image Bonaire WI 2004  - about 7 public phone booths in a row - remember making a telephone call on a warm summer night from a phone booth like this?  Perhaps you were at camp as a kid....very nice ambiance.

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Phone booth detritus - who cleans up after the telephone co?


Over the last 10 years almost every public telephone in the USA has been taken out of service.    The image above is commonplace at every bus stop, subway station, and corner variety store.   

What I don't understand is why the guts of the telephones are gone, but all the electrical and telephone conduits are not removed.   What is the division of responsibility between the telephone company and the building site?  Is this public phone installation/removal governed by FCC rules?

Note that the fan is still plugged into the electrical power circuit  which once fed the old phone lights.

Beam me up, Scotty!