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1999 Archives

BT Plans to Take Photo Booths Online
Compiled by Giles Turnbull

A NATIONWIDE network of high-street Internet booths is to be installed in the United Kingdom through a deal announced between BT and passport photo booth company Photo-Me. The first Internet booths will be installed later this year, with a thousand more during 2000.

Plans are under way to convert all of the UK's 4,300 booths in railway stations, airports and shopping centres into the new Internet versions. The booths will offer full Internet access through a customised browser and will promote BT's free web-based e-mail service Talk21.

People will still be able to take photographs in the booths but as well as receiving prints of their photos they will be able to send pictures to any e-mail address.

Use of the Internet will be charged at about 30 pence (there are 100 pence in one pound sterling) per minute. Extra charges will be added for printing out pictures or e-mail messages. Users will be able to pay using credit cards, smartcards or cash.

BT will provide network connections, software and web-style content and will negotiate with third parties interested in operating e-commerce links from the booths. Phone-Me will build and maintain the booths and run the photographic services.

As well as the booths in the UK the two companies are considering their options for Photo-Me's 20,000 booths in the rest of the world. Advertising will be important to the success of the operation. The booths will have digital screens on the outside for use by advertisers and will use adverts on-screen inside the booth as well.

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