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Panorama Archives: 2000
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
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
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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