BT, Global Expanding High Street Ad Totem Network In UK By As Many As 2,000 Sites

March 27, 2024 by Dave Haynes

UK telecoms giant BT Group and its business partner Global are evidently finding success with a conversion of payphones on public sidewalks to what it calls Street Hubs – display totems that have multiple functions but exist mostly to run DOOH advertising.

The companies have announced that up to 2,000 more conventional BT payphones and kiosks will be converted into Street Hubs, over a 10-year period starting next year. The coverage would be across more than 200 towns and cities, so this is not just a London and other big cities thing.

The units, which look different from earlier versions that were very similar to the LinkNYC kiosks in New York, provide public Wi-Fi and some will also have gear from EE’s mobile network capability to provide 4G and 5G connectivity.

Users will get secure connectivity at speeds of up to 1Gbps within a 150-metre radius, and the units have a dedicated 999 calling button, USBs for free device charging and touch-screen tablets displaying real-time public information from local councils.

The PR also casually mentions at the end of one paragraph in the PR: “They also feature screens to open up digital, street-level advertising for businesses.”

These things don’t exist without the ads, but they tend to be marketed as infrastructure to counteract community opposition to advertising cluttering local high streets. A few years ago, these things were being labelled smart cities devices and marketing material was riddled with the term Internet of Things.

The OOH media company Global will cover the rollout and so both the marketing and selling of advertising m while BT will provide mobile and WiFi connectivity to the units. There are already 959 existing Street Hubs.

From PR:

BT Street Hubs nationwide are already a significant part of Global’s high-quality, digital roadside advertising estate, providing huge reach and scale for outdoor ad campaigns. The BT portfolio is also available for advertisers to purchase programmatically via DAX, Global’s market leading digital advertising exchange with pioneering 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 at BT: “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, Global’s Group CEO: “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.”

The PR does not get into who the technology suppliers are on this project. In 2021, Trueform Digital was called out as the “newly-appointed hardware supplier,” while Manchester-based ADXBA was the technology, software and support supplier for the street units.

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