BT is Burton on the Button

Internet ready phoneboxes will waft email scent

BT, the company that has just struck a deal with Korea Telecom, had a huge launch yesterday to which, unfortunately, The Register was not invited. The deal goes like this. From early on real soon now, people located around the M25 will be able to both send and receive emails from the booths. But maybe BT forgot what the booths used to be like. Formerly, they smelled of wee, had broken windows and thief-proof boxes. But before that 1970s nightmare, they were far more interesting. The old phone boxes had two buttons - Button A and Button B. You had to insert twelve old English pennies, dial the pulse thingie in a circle and then when you were connected press Button A and BT (formerly the Post Office) would accept your shilling (twelve pennies equalled a shilling, pre-decimalisation) and put you through. But there was a tweak to the system if you were a phone tweaking phreaking sort of a shady dodgy geezer or geezerette. If you tapped out the number on the two prongs that supported the receiver, you get through without spending twelve pennies. Those were the days. The 12 pennies are now worth five pence (new pence) and BT phones won't accept such small change. The minimum they accept are 10 new pennies (formerly two shillings). Plus ca change. We wonder how much an email will cost....the new £2 coin? Those of our beloved Blightyish readers old and long toothed enough will probably remember the expression: "As bent as a two pound note". For our American readers, a two pound note was worth US$6 in those days. And "Burton on the Button"? This refers to demobilisation after World War II. Every squaddie (grunt) got a free suit and a rail pass when they left (were pushed out) of the Army (Navy and Air Force too). ®

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