Payphone Chic: Bell Atlantic Installs First Internet Kiosks At Rhode Island Airport
Travelers Can Access Web, E-mail
May 15, 2000
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Like Clark Kent, swapping a rumpled suit for flashy, blue Superman Spandex, the phone booth itself is making a big change. It's becoming an Internet on-ramp.
Bell Atlantic today powered up its first three Internet kiosks at T.F. Green Airport in Providence, giving travelers a hassle-free way to log onto the Web to check e-mail, flight schedules, reservations, the news or countless other Internet functions. More installations at other sites in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic are scheduled over the next few weeks.
"Making connections available to people on the go is what our business is all about," said Jay Richman, product manager. "The Internet has become a critical communication and information resource, and Bell Atlantic payphones are changing to meet the needs of our customers when they are away from their home or office.
"We've taken the model that's worked well for payphone calling and put it to work in a new way," Richman said. "You can leave your PC zipped in the case and your wireless phone in your pocket. Everything you need is there to help you stay in touch affordably using the latest Internet tools. No more worrying about PC or wireless batteries, call security, dial-up protocols or minutes left in the calling plan. Just sit down, pay the four-minute minimum and off you go."
Three kiosks have been conveniently located near restaurants in terminals at T.F. Green Airport. Customers settling into the sleek mini-offices will find an "always ready" access screen with simple instructions for beginning a session.
Hookups will cost 25 cents per minute with a minimum connection time of four minutes. The kiosks, manufactured by NetNearU of Bryan, TX, accept bills, credit cards and prepaid calling cards.
"Our primary focus continues to be the needs of our customers, and this is certain to be a popular feature for both our business and leisure travelers, who want quick access to the Internet and e-mail," said Elaine Roberts, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. "We're pleased to once again be first in providing a new, useful service to the traveling public."
T. F. Green Airport/PVD has become the "airport of choice" for Southern New Englanders since the new terminal opened in September 1996. Passenger traffic, recorded at over 5.1 million for 1999, has doubled in just three short years, when 1996 yearly figures tallied at 2.4 million. The "hassle-free Gateway to New England" has become the attractive alternative to Boston's Logan Airport, just an hour's drive from Providence. The airport's success is attributed to low fares, easy access and attention to customer service.
"Economic development and technology are once again coming together here in Rhode Island," said Donna Cupelo, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Rhode Island. "Technology like this supports people who use a great facility like T.F.Green to bring their business to our state. This is a small but significant symbol of our mutual success."
The Internet kiosks are part of Bell Atlantic's response to the growing demand of travelers for access to information, e-mail and other Web services.
"These stations provide the convenience and ease of use our customers expect," Richman said. "There's no need to unload and connect your PC or work with tiny keyboards or miniature screens on other devices. Just sit down, log on and go."
Bell Atlantic has contracts pending for additional installations in its Northeast and Mid-Atlantic service area and expects to have dozens of the units installed by year-end. Kiosks are planned for the airports at Manchester, N.H., and Portland, Maine, the Peter Pan Bus terminal, and the Host Marriott Corporation rest stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike at Framingham, MA.
For reliable, affordable payphone services, millions of callers each day choose one of the 380,000 Bell Atlantic payphones from Maine to Virginia.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.