TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant BT has tabled a series of plans to "evolve the payphone estate" in Bournemouth.

The firm has submitted 12 separate planning applications to BCP Council seeking permission to install six 'Street Hubs' and associated digital advert screens.

BT wants to install the structures, which provide ultrafast public WiFi and free phone calls, on pavements in Bournemouth town centre, Boscombe and Southbourne.

A statement submitted by the company in support of the applications said: "Street Hubs are free to use, fully accessible community assets connecting and improving local streets in urban areas.

"At no cost to taxpayers or end users, Street Hubs provide communities with an unprecedented suite of essential urban tools."

Bournemouth Echo: CGI of the street hubsCGI of the street hubs

The free-standing Street Hubs include two advertising screens and power-only USB ports for rapid charging of mobile devices.

BT said they include advanced text relay services to make them more accessible to those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired, through the use of the built-in tablet screen.

The firm said the structures can display important community and emergency services awareness messaging and boot both 4G and 5G signals in area around where they are installed.

"Our approach to planning is to be collaborative with councils wherever possible, working closely with relevant stakeholders to identify suitable sites for Street Hubs and to select which payphones are to be removed," the statement added.

"Once the appropriate permissions have been gained we progress with removals and installations with the minimal possible disruption to residents and businesses.

"Activation is as automated as possible to minimise the time our engineers spend setting-up and checking the units are ready for service.

"We welcome the opportunity to collaborate on all stages of the rollout in an area wherever possible."

Bournemouth Echo: The Street Hubs include a touch screen consoleThe Street Hubs include a touch screen console

BT said each Street Hub will be inspected weekly and cleaned at least every two weeks, while they are also monitored at all times.

The proposed sites for the structures include two in Southbourne Grove outside Sainsbury's Local and Boots, three in the pedestrianised area of Christchurch Road, Boscombe, one outside Toni & Guy in Old Christchurch Road, one outside Greggs in Commercial Road, and one on the corner of Exeter Crescent and Exeter Road outside The Real Greek at the BH2 complex.

The public consultation on each of the applications is currently open on BCP Council's planning portal.

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