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Internet kiosk network scheme halted

Public not interested, says BT

BT has abandoned plans to build one of the world's largest public internet kiosk networks.

Initially, the company had planned to install 28,000 public multimedia kiosks, offering access to the web, email, SMS (short message service) and traditional telephony, but decided to end the program after installing only 1,300 systems due to insufficient consumer demand, company spokesman Ian Read said today.

"It's always a good idea to give customers choice, and that's what this service is about," Read said. "But for lack of demand, we've decided not to install any more kiosks."

Read declined to give reasons for the poor takeup but, when asked about Wi-Fi, conceded that the kiosk service faced alternatives.

After reviewing the business performance of the public multimedia service, the company chose not to invest any more money in the project, according to Read.

BT has no plans to axe any of the installed kiosks, although the company may relocate some of them to areas where it anticipates more demand, Read said.

The technology was supplied by Marconi, which had stumbled onto difficult times and was acquired last year by Ericsson.


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