Eircom plans to replace ageing phone booths at seven different locations around Galway City according to planning documents submitted to the council.
The proposal is to replace the existing phone booths around the city with more more moderns ones that have a contemporary design and more functionality.
As well as their regular phone functions, the booths will also include a digital media display with an interactive Wayfinding/Mapping system to help people locate points of interest.
This feature can transfer a route to any chosen point to the person’s phone by scanning a QR phone, and is meant to enhance tourism in the city.
The modern design of the proposed phone booths would also make them more accessible to wheelchair users Eircom has said.
It is proposed to replace the phone booths at the junction of Newcastle and Costello roads, on University Road, in Eyre Square opposite the shopping centre, on Wellpark Road Upper, at the Junction of Bridge and Lombard streets, where Eyre Square meets Prospect Hill, and at the junction of Eyre Square and Rosemary Avenue.
Though all seven applications have been submitted to the city council separately, they contain the same reasoning for why public payphones are still necessary.
“Despite the growth in mobile phone usage, public payphones are still an important part of towns and cities across the country.”
“They fulfil an important public function in providing in providing access to emergency services; to charity services; to report emergencies and by the vulnerable to access support services.”
“Public payphones also provide connectivity for users who do not have access to a mobile phone or where mobile phone service is interrupted”.
The applications also noted that these public phone booths are required under Eircom’s Universal Service Obligation from ComReg.
Eircom states that while there has been a “significant reduction” in the number of phone booths around Galway City, there are still a large number of calls made through the ones that are left.
Galway City Council is due to make a decision on these applications by July 19.