December 09, 2003

Pavement pods link to the Net

The kiosks will offer free internet access, text messages and tourist information.

People will also be able to pay their council tax bills, book on-line tickets and report complaints to the council.

If the sites are successful, advertising space on every kiosk could generate 2,500 annually.

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Pavement pods link to the Net

Dec 9 2003

By Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff

CITY leaders are expected to give the green-light to futuristic 'pavement pods'.

The kiosks will offer free internet access, text messages and tourist information.

People will also be able to pay their council tax bills, book on-line tickets and report complaints to the council.

Councillors are due to give the 363,562 pilot scheme the go-ahead on Friday and plan to build the pods by March.

Seven sites across the city have been identified for the 24-hour kiosks.

They will be in: Allerton Road, Allerton; Woolton Street, Woolton Village; West Derby Road, Newsham Park, Whitechapel, city centre; Breck Road, Kensington; Princes Road, Toxteth and Moss Way, Croxteth.

If these sites are successful a further 100 kiosks could be built across the city.

The pods are part of the council's plan to make all its services accessible via the internet by the end of 2004.

Users will also be able to report crimes and disturbances on a special Crimestoppers web-page.

Council tenants will also be able to link up with the city's One-Stop-Shop centres and register building complaints.

Coun Chris Newby, executive member for information technology and e-government, said: "We chose seven areas across the city because we want to test how much people from different economic backgrounds use the pods for council services.

"This is just a pilot scheme and we plan to roll it out to between 50 and 100 pods in the city.

"Initially, people will be able to e-mail and get internet access for free as well as contact the police and any council services that are available through electronic means.

"As time goes on other services will become available through the pods."

The pods have been located in busy pedestrian areas and will have CCTV cameras to prevent users becoming targets for criminals.

Telecommunications giant BT was recently awarded the contract to build the pods on behalf of Liverpool Direct.

The kiosks will be vandal proof and even able to withstand a car hitting them. Engineers crashed cars into the prototypes to make sure they cannot be toppled.

Similar information points been introduced to the streets of Bristol and Newcastle.

If the sites are successful, advertising space on every kiosk could generate 2,500 annually.

Liverpool's executive board is expected to give its backing to the scheme at its meeting on Friday.

Posted by Craig at December 9, 2003 03:32 PM