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BT to turn 2,000 payphones into high-speed connectivity street hubs

Staff Reporter
March 27, 2024

The country’s public payphones will be tirned into high-speed connectivity hubs courtesy of BT and the Media & Entertainment group Global.

The two companies have signed a 10-year partnership to upgrade legacy payphones and 2,000 payphones into digital hubs for local communities in more than 200 towns and cities that will provide public Wi-Fi and live communication at a local level. Some will offer EE 4G and 5G connectivity.

Global will convert the conventional BT payphones and kiosks into brand new Street Hubs over a 10-year period starting next year, as well as marketing and selling advertising on BT’s 959 existing Street Hubs. BT will continue to provide mobile and WiFi connectivity to the units.

The Hubs will support secure connectivity at speeds of up to 1Gbps within a 150-meter radius. Some units will have a dedicated 999 calling button, USBs for free device charging, and touch-screen tablets displaying real-time public information supplied by local councils. They also feature ad screens for local businesses to advertise.

BT Street Hubs are already a significant part of Global’s outdoor ad estate. The BT portfolio is also available for advertisers to purchase.

BT’s payphones have long been an iconic feature on the UK’s streets. There are already almost 1,000 modern digital Street Hubs. By bringing together BT connectivity with Global’s expertise in out-of-home advertising, we can almost triple this number over the next decade,” said Bas Burger, CEO – Business at BT (above left).

Stephen Miron, Global’s Group CEO (above right), added, “Street Hubs have become increasingly attractive to advertisers. We have very exciting and ambitious plans to significantly expand the Street Hub network, alongside some highly innovative solutions for advertisers.”

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