Telecommunications company BT has recently announced that its intends to replace its famous and traditionally British red telephone boxes and convert them into Wi-Fi kiosks.
These kiosks will offer the public a more modernised version of public communication and offer superfast Wi-Fi, free calls and a variety of chargers for mobile phones, all as a replacement for the payphone.
These new kiosks will be debuted on a number of major high streets in the nation’s capital from as early as next year. Should they prove to be successful, they will then be rolled out and installed in locations all over the UK. However, there are likely to be fewer of these kiosks than there were telephone booths.
Despite there being fewer of them in comparison, hundreds of existing phone booths will be converted into these kiosks, which BT are referring to as “links”. According to the company, there will be at least 750 of them across London and the other major cities in the UK. Furthermore, it is expected that they will take up less space than the red booths.
Members of the public who find themselves near one of these kiosks are able to connect to the company’s ultrafast Wi-Fi free of charge. As well as this, they will also be able to take advantage of free calls to both mobile devices and landline phones, and charge up their devices using one of two USB ports. There will also be a touchscreen tablet installed at these kiosks that will allow people to search for local services and use maps of the local area.
BT links will have sensors built into their systems that will capture data such as noise and air pollution levels, and traffic conditions. This will then be fed back into the internet for use on other BT services. It is believed that these kiosks will be paid for using the capital generated from the advertising campaigns for the kiosks.
Gerry McQuade, the chief executive for wholesale and ventures at BT, has said that the company is evolving the traditional phone box and turning them into something relevant to the 21st century that people can utilise for free. He also explains that London is the best place for these links to be debuted in as it is one of the greatest cities in the world.
BT has recognised that the need for payphones has declined with the rise of smartphones, so this moves represents the logical choice to update them.