BT gifts free advertising space to Glasgow businesses as first Scottish Street Hub goes live

  • First BT Street Hub 2.0 unit unveiled in Glasgow - with local businesses given the chance to advertise for free via the digital screens
  • New research reveals that over 60 per cent of small firms say local advertising will boost awareness of their business, with almost half citing cost as major barrier to adoption
  • Two thirds of small firms agree that mobile connectivity could be improved in their area, with Street Hub units set to boost 4G/5G coverage in Scottish cities

Glasgow is the second city across the UK to benefit from the new Street Hub 2.0 units, with the first unit in Scotland unveiled in Sauchiehall Street today, one of the main shopping streets in the centre of the city.

BT is donating up to £7.5 million of outdoor advertising space to small businesses across the UK, as part of its roll-out of new Street Hub 2.0 units – which help build the UK’s digital infrastructure and include services such as digital advertising screens and ultrafast Wi-Fi. The announcement of enhanced connectivity in Glasgow comes shortly after BT’s EE network enabled 4G at Glasgow’s subway stations.

The rollout of the new Street Hubs will help support the wider regeneration of the area led by Glasgow City Council and will help support local businesses following the Covid-19 pandemic. A further nine new Street Hub units will be rolled out across Glasgow in the coming weeks, with additional sites to follow in the coming months.

Local businesses in Glasgow are being given the chance to advertise for free on the new Street Hub units, with nominations open now. BT is calling local businesses and the public to encourage them to nominate local firms who could benefit from the offer.

The launch comes as a new BT study found that more than 60 per cent of small businesses agree that local advertising would help to increase awareness of their business, with 40 per cent saying it would encourage more people to shop at their local high street. However, almost half (49 per cent) said that cost was a major obstacle to them investing in local Out Of Home (OOH) advertising. BT is now taking action to remove one of the biggest barriers to adoption, with the Street Hub’s digital advertising screens designed to help small firms attract more customers following the local and national lockdowns.

Street Hubs can also help to enhance digital connectivity and services for communities through features such as free mobile device charging, access to an emergency call button, charity helplines, and local wayfinding via an integrated tablet.

Councillor Angus Millar, Depute Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth at Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Digital Glasgow Board, said: “We are working with our partners to renew the city’s economy in response to the pandemic, and initiatives such as these Street Hubs can promote and support local businesses. I would encourage anyone who thinks a local business would benefit from free advertising on the hubs to nominate them.”

Alan Lees, Scotland director for BT’s enterprise unit, said: “BT has been supporting the recovery and growth of small businesses throughout the pandemic - and we’re moving up a gear now that lockdown restrictions have lifted. We hope that, by gifting free digital advertising space via our new Street Hub units, we can give small businesses in Glasgow an extra boost as high streets spring back to life. 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.”

The new digital units can also help local councils achieve their social and economic improvement and sustainability goals. For example, around COP26, Glasgow City Council used their free screen time on the Street Hub units to raise awareness of key messages and events.

With nearly two thirds of all local authorities aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030, each Street Hub 2.0 unit can be fitted with air quality and CO2 sensors. This will provide local councils with the insight needed to help them take action to improve air quality, contributing to the health and wellbeing of local people. At the COP 26 'Tech for Climate Action' event in Glasgow, BT showcased the Street Hub Air Quality Monitoring (AQM) technology to attendees, raising awareness of how the technology can be used to support cities in reaching their sustainability goals.

BT’s latest study also revealed that around two thirds (66 per cent) of local businesses think that mobile connectivity could be improved in their local community, to help them work faster and smarter. BT’s new Street Hub 2.0 units will enhance local digital infrastructure by including the option to install mini mobile masts or ‘small cells’ on the structure to further boost 4G and 5G coverage in the local area.

Subject to local planning processes, BT is aiming to roll out around 50 of its new Street Hub 2.0 units across Scotland the next 12 months, working closely with local councils and communities.

About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2021, BT Group’s reported revenue was £21,331m with reported profit before taxation of £1,804m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about