Posted on 11-Mar-2004 20:17
Filed under: News
Companies use wi-fi and broaband to revitalise phone booths. British Telecom is using new style of phone booth fitted with both a cash machine and a payphone.
The new kiosks are the result of a partnership between BT Payphones and Travelex UK. If an initial trial of the kiosks is successful, then up to 300 will be rolled out across the the United Kingdom from April this year.
Trial boxes have already been installed in Sutton in Surrey, Southend in Essex and Portsmouth. Other locations over the next few months will include five sites in central London.
The Travelex branded red, white and blue kiosks feature a cash machine on the exterior of one side and a payphone on the exterior of the other side of the box. Installations will be concentrated in areas where there is no cash machine nearby, and they will be in service seven days a week, 24 hours a day, unlike indoor cash machines.
Paul Hendron, director of BT Payphones, said: "The cash machine trial with Travelex is one of many initiatives we are looking at. We will be bringing valuable new services to our customers that will help attract people into payphones and generate new revenue to help us maintain and develop the network."
To meet the increasing demand for more sophisticated services BT has provided more than 1,500 public Internet Kiosks in UK high streets, shopping centres, tube, rail and bus stations. These "blue boxes" can be used for payphone calls, surfing the web, sending e-mail, text, photo and even video messages.
Other new activities include selling advertising space on the inside and outside of phone boxes and on the screens of internet terminals. Additionally, BT Openzone Wi-Fi access points are being installed in broadband enabled payphones to bring wireless broadband to the streets of Britain so that subscribers can connect to the internet or their office intranet using a Wi-Fi enabled laptop or PDA.
Charges for use of the phone box cash machines will vary - some will be free to use, some will charge a fee for a transaction, depending on the location.
For security purposes, the cash machines are fitted with an ink-staining system - a DNA traceable, indelible powder stains everything including the cash, if an attempt is made to steal from the kiosk. Each machine will display warning signs as a deterrent.