The telephone booths they will not start to disappear of the streets with the new year and are saved for the time being, when the Government decides, against all odds, that they continue to be part of the benefits included in the universal telecommunications service.
The royal decree that will be approved tomorrow eliminates the obligation of two of the services included in the universal service – the telephone directories and the consultation service about subscriber numbers-, but, for now, the rest have been maintained, they have indicated sources from the sector.
The Government, in the case of the cabins, has decided to briefly extend the current situation and take advantage of the next transposition to Spain of the European Code of Electronic Communications (for which there is a term of two years) to make a more complete and exhaustive analysis on how to withdraw services universal telephony services.
According to various sources, the forecast was that in the royal decree to be approved tomorrow the Council of Ministers established that it was no longer mandatory maintain a sufficient number of cabins, who have lived with the Spaniards for 90 years, but currently hardly used.
The guides and the information service on subscriber numbers will continue to be provided in a competitive situation, independently of the minimums established by law, but in the case of the booths there were doubts, for example, about the suitability of marking deadlines for their withdrawal , according to the aforementioned sources.
As the cabins are not eliminated as a universal service in the royal decree, Telefónica will have to continue providing this service, not included, as well as telephone directories and telephone information on subscriber numbers, in the European Code of Electronic Communications.
Currently there are in Spain about 16,000 cabins on public roads, a service that is provided by Telefónica, which the previous Government appointed directly to carry it out after the last call for tenders was abandoned.
Public telephones are part of the universal service which guarantees that all citizens have access to telecommunications services regardless of their geographical location, with a certain quality and an affordable price.
This implies bringing the telecommunications network to any point in the country, including unprofitable areas, having telephone booths, telephone directories and adapted services for people with disabilities and, since 2012, access to broadband.
In the case of cabins, there must be at least a public telephone in each municipality of 1,000 or more inhabitants, to which one more is added for every 3,000.
The previous Executive was in favor of eliminating the obligation referred to cabins in a draft royal decree that referred to the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), an organization that has repeatedly pronounced in favor of removing them from universal service before its lack of use.