BT's new Street Hub kiosks want to improve 5G in major UK cities

(Image credit: Image Credit: Free-Photos / Pixabay)

BT is to roll out a new version of its ‘Street Hub’ units in major cities across the UK, claiming the digital kiosks will help improve 4G and 5G networks in urban areas and help local authorities meet environmental targets.

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 but have been built with sustainability in mind. BT says air quality and carbon dioxide sensors can be built into the units to help local councils monitor emissions and achieve their sustainability goals.

BT Street Hub 2.0

Meanwhile, there is space for 4G and 5G small cells that will densify mobile networks and provide additional capacity in busy areas. BT adds that local businesses will benefit from being able to advertise in their area, while authorities will receive 5% of total advertising space to provide information to the community.

More than 200 units will be rolled out over the next 12 months and will complement the first-generation kiosks that have already been installed.

“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,” said James Browne, Head of Street at BT.

“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.”

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.