BT to upgrade street furniture

BT and Global have announced a 10-year partnership to upgrade the UK’s legacy payphones and roll out more digital hubs for local communities.

The new partnership will provide better connectivity and hyper-local advertising in more than 200 towns and cities across the country. Global will also continue to represent BT’s street furniture advertising sales for the next decade.

BT Group’s street furniture estate covers traditional payphones, ATMs and street hubs: digital units that provide public Wi-Fi and live communication at a local level – with some also extending EE’s mobile network capability to provide 4G and 5G connectivity.

The new agreement will result in Global converting up to 2,000 conventional BT payphones and kiosks into brand new street hubs over a 10-year period from 2025, as well as marketing and selling advertising on BT's 959 existing street hubs. BT will continue to provide mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity to the units.

As well as offering secure connectivity at speeds of up to 1Gbps within a 150-metre radius, modern street hub 2 units have a dedicated 999 calling button, USBs for free device charging and touch-screen tablets displaying real-time public information from local councils. They also feature screens that can offer businesses digital, street-level advertising.

BT Street Hubs nationwide are already a significant part of Global's digital roadside advertising estate, providing reach and scale for outdoor ad campaigns. The BT portfolio is also available for advertisers to purchase programmatically via DAX, Global’s market digital advertising exchange with targeting and measurement tools. Global will continue to share content from LBC on the BT screens, providing news to local communities served by the units.

Bas Burger, CEO, business, BT, said, “BT's payphones have long been an iconic feature on the UK's streets – and with the way we all communicate changing, today's announcement marks a further step into the future. There are already almost 1,000 modern digital street hubs bringing communication benefits to local communities across the UK.

“By bringing together BT’s rock-solid connectivity with Global’s unrivalled expertise in out-of-home advertising, we can almost triple this number over the next decade.”

Stephen Miron, group CEO, Global, said, “We are absolutely delighted to continue our partnership with BT for at least another 10 years. Street hubs have become increasingly attractive to advertisers, given their striking presence and prominent positioning on the major streets across the UK.

“Together with BT, we have very exciting and ambitious plans to significantly expand the street hub network, alongside some highly innovative solutions for advertisers. BT have been a great partner, and we look forward to continuing this relationship over the next decade.”