BT Halts Web Kiosk Rollout

Reports in the press indicate that poor take-up has forced BT to abandon plans to install multimedia phone boxes across the UK. BT has halted the rollout of thousands of Internet kiosks after overestimating how much public demand there would be for the service.

At present there are around 1,300 Web kiosks installed around the UK at shopping centres, rail stations and airports. They allow users to surf the Web and send emails and text messages, as well as make phone calls.

In late 2001, BT said that 28,000 kiosks would be built, in partnership with Marconi, but the telco confirmed over the weekend that that no more would be installed.

“BT had planned a large scale rollout of public multimedia kiosks, with our supplier, which has been reduced due to performance. It is no surprise that this is a similar experience to other operators around the world,” said the company in a statement, adding that it didn’t plan to rip out any of the existing high-tech kiosks.

A BT spokesman added on Monday that if the existing 1,300 units don’t attract much business in their present location they could be moved to other sites.

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