Solar powered phone boxes that offer free calls and wifi could come to the borough

One of the phonebixes could be installed in Jubilee Street in Stepney. Pic: Google

One of the phonebixes could be installed in Jubilee Street in Stepney. Pic: Google - Credit: Archant

Solar powered phone boxes which would give users free calls and wifi could be popping up in four places across the borough.

Maximus Networks, a privately-owned communications company, has applied to Tower Hamlets Council to install the payphones in Jubilee Street, Stepney, Roman Road, Bow, Devons Road, Bromley-by-Bow and next to Mile End Park.

The company stated that the devices would provide free calls, wifi and give children an easy way to access counselling service ChildLine.

But, several councils across the country have already rejected planning applications from Maximus, branding the boxes ‘ugly advertising boards’.

Last year Westminster Council rejected plans for 86 of the boxes, which did not include wifi, because most people carry mobile phones and it was felt they would mainly be used for advertising.

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At the same time BT announced it was removing 20,000 public telephone boxes from the streets after usage dropped 90 per cent.

But Maximus has insisted “there is still a need for public call boxes across all sections of the community”.

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In its application it added that the design had been updated to “be extremely discreet”.

Tower Hamlets Council will reject or approve the plans later this year.

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