Freeserve unveils Internet kiosks

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Freeserve unveils Internet kiosks

Will Garside
Freeserve, the UK's largest internet service provider, is preparing to install 1,000 Internet kiosks at airports, train stations and hospitals.

The kiosks, jointly developed with NWP Communications (NWP), will allow users to access news, e-mail, chat services, video games and direct shopping channels.

Freeserve is planning to install 30 kiosks on a trial basis. Each device comprises a 15in touch screen with full alphanumeric keyboard and trackball. Payment will be by cash or credit card.

Derek O'Neill, managing director of NWP, said: "The Freeserve deal is very important to raise the profile of kiosks.

"The payphone market has been affected by mobile phone adoption, but services like the Internet kiosk are the first example of a wider move towards offering new services."

NWP has seen the value of the payphone market decline from £350m a year to around £200m. However, O'Neill believes that the company's existing 8,000 payphone sites, which are linked via high-speed data lines, will prove to be a valuable resource for the next range of information services.

He said the company was investigating the possibility of using the kiosks as short-range base stations for wireless services.

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