BT last week announced the next step in its plans to evolve the UK’s digital infrastructure with its enhanced ‘Street Hub 2.0’ unit that introduces upgraded features such as sustainable design, environment monitoring for local authorities and the ability to boost 4G/5G mobile coverage. Alongside newly appointed hardware supplier Trueform Digital, BT will continue to partner with Global, the Media & Entertainment group, as its advertising partner to support the digital street units.
Reflecting BT’s purpose to connect for good, more than 400 Street Hub units are already delivering a wide range of economic, social and technology benefits to communities and local councils up and down the country – from connecting local residents, businesses and visitors to free ultrafast Wi-Fi, to ensuring that people can contact the emergency services or charity helplines in times of need. The new Street Hub 2.0 units will be installed alongside existing units to new sites across the UK.
Remember that back in December 2019 all 484 Street Hub units (previously InLink units) deployed across the country were purchased under the full ownership of BT.
James Browne, Head of Street at BT, said: “Street Hubs form part of BT’s plan to transform the UK’s streets with a digital communications service designed for the 21st Century. I’m really excited that we’re now evolving the service even further with a newly designed ‘Street Hub 2.0’ unit which is more sustainable, while delivering free public Wi-fi services and improved 4G/5G mobile coverage to local communities. The free digital services provided by our Street Hub units can play an important role in helping to revive the UK’s high streets following the pandemic. We are working closely with local councils and communities to introduce the new units to more parts of the country, enhancing the UK’s future digital infrastructure, and bringing benefits to residents, businesses and tourists alike.”
Sustainable design is at the core of the new unit offering. Working with tech scale-up Everimpact via BT’s Green Tech Innovation Platform, air quality and CO2 sensors can be built into the new units. This will provide actionable environmental insights to help local councils achieve their sustainability goals such as becoming carbon neutral by 2030, a target that nearly two thirds of local authorities have made. Supporting the clean air initiatives of local authorities will lead to improved air quality, in turn benefiting the health of local communities.
Jonathan Morley, CEO, Trueform Manufacturing & Technologies Group, said “We’re delighted to have been selected by BT for the design, manufacture and deployment of their next generation digital Street Hub products. This highly prestigious award will enable us to further showcase our pioneering, UK based manufacturing, technology and outdoor digital display capabilities. We’re looking forward to working closely with the BT team in the successful delivery of this exciting and iconic project”.
Street Hubs connect to ultrafast free public Wi-Fi, with an outdoor Wi-Fi access point connected directly to the fibre broadband network, bringing speeds of up to 1Gbps to users within 150m of the unit. The new Street Hub 2.0 units can also incorporate 4G and 5G small cells to help improve network coverage and capacity for local residents, local businesses and visitors to high streets.
For local businesses, the upgraded units also feature an accessible digital advertising solution run by Global, BT’s advertising partner. The advertising solution is designed to support the marketing needs of local businesses, helping them to rebuild brand awareness as Covid-19 restrictions continue to lift across the country. Each local authority is also provided with 5% of total screen time on each Street Hub to promote local municipal services and better inform the local community about developments or issues affecting their area. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, existing Street Hub units across the country played a vital role in displaying key public health advice from Public Health England and local councils.
Jason Cotterrell, Chief Operating Officer at Global (Outdoor), said: “The high streets are vibrant and bustling with returning audiences, it’s a great time to be working alongside BT on the next generation of Street Hub. Digital street units provide advertisers with a flexible and impactful form of communication, and we’re excited to roll out a new sustainable offering to our clients and partners, in the coming months.”
Subject to local planning processes, BT’s ambition is to roll out more than 200 Street Hub 2.0 units to new sites across the UK over the next year.