BT offers SMBs millions in free advertising space on new Street Hub 2.0 units

BT Street Hub 2
(Image credit: BT)

BT has installed the first of 200 next-generation ‘Street Hub’ units it plans to roll out across the UK over the next 12 months, promising to donate £7.5 million worth of free advertising to small businesses.

The first-generation Smart Hubs were introduced back in 2017, offering free 1Gbps Wi-Fi supported by digital advertising space. They replaced hundreds of phone boxes that had become unused or vandalised and were becoming a maintenance burden.

‘Smart Hub 2.0’ units offer much of the same functionality, including the ability to act as small cells that densify 4G and 5G networks – providing a tangible benefit to local communities and councils.

BT Street Hub 2.0

BT’s Street Hubs ensure that Londoners have access to fast and free Wi-Fi across the capital whilst on the go, they improve mobile signal, and help councils to get vital local information to their residents,” said Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London.

The first second-generation kiosk is now live at Notting Hill Gate in West London, with more set to be placed in other locations around the capital and the UK, including Glasgow, Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham and Solihull and Southampton.

Local businesses, which BT says recognise the benefits of out-of-home advertising but are put off by cost, can be nominated for free advertising space to promote their wares.

“We hope that, by gifting free digital advertising space via our new Street Hub units, we can give small businesses an extra boost as high streets spring back to life,” said James Browne, head of BT’s street business. “Our new Street Hub units can play a vital role in helping small firms to bounce back – whether that’s through building greater awareness of their business through free advertising, or by rejuvenating the high street by boosting local digital infrastructure.”  

Councils will also receive 5% of all screen time to display important notices or raise awareness of local services, something that was used to great effect during the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a further bid to demonstrate that the value of the Smart Hub goes beyond pure commercial interests, BT says Smart Hub 2.0 units can be equipped with environmental sensors that measure air quality and CO2 levels. These metrics can help improve public health and allow local authorities to meet their environmental targets.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.