M2 PRESSWIRE-24 November 1997-PACIFIC BELL: Pacific Bell introduces high- speed public Internet access kiosks (C)1994-97 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD
SAN DIEGO -- San Diego, which prides itself on being a center of high- technology activities, will be the first California city to offer the public a chance to send or check e-mail on the run, make Internet airline connections or check local weather conditions using Pacific Bell's new, high-speed public Internet access kiosks.
Located in three well-trafficked terminals in the newly renovated San Diego International Airport, Pacific Bell's new high-speed, public Internet kiosks are meant to serve the online needs of air travelers who need quick access to e- mail or the World Wide Web on their way to or from flights. Travelers will no longer need to rely solely on portable computers as their only source of remote Internet access.
The kiosks will feature high-speed Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) phone lines and Internet access from Pacific Bell Internet Services and can be used for just 33 cents per minute. ISDN service perfectly meets the needs of travelers because it transmits online, graphically rich content to users' fingertips almost instantaneously, at speeds more than four times faster than today's most popular analog access speed.
Consumers and business travelers can use the kiosks to check weather information, look up directions to local destinations, make hotel reservations, and handle last-minute financial transactions. Wells Fargo Bank has a navigational button featured prominently on the kiosk entry screen, thus providing its customers with easy access to online banking and bill payment options.
"These kiosks enable Pacific Bell to bring new, enhanced and affordable services to a greater number of consumers and conveniently meet the growing needs and demands of those who rely on the Internet in their daily lives," said Phil Knuckles, sales manager of Pacific Bell.
"We see this as a benefit to our existing customer base, and others who wish to explore the Internet and World Wide Web without having to make sizable investments in technology. As any frequent traveler will tell you, remote Internet access that relies on portable computers and modems can be quite cumbersome and time consuming. Eliminating the need to carry or tote around extra baggage while traveling makes a big difference. Having easy, secure and reliable Internet access at one's fingertips also will go a long way in encouraging people to stay in touch while on the road."
According to a recent report by Jupiter Communications, "interactive kiosk companies are in the beginning stages of developing a very targeted audience for online travel services. These interactive players are hoping that by offering better access in an environment that does not require the set-up and battery drain of their own portable computers, these companies will be able to garner a much-sought-after demographic-affluent, technology savvy, frequent travelers."
Indeed, Pacific Bell will be able to offer online advertising space to hotels, local restaurants, car rental agencies and others who deal in the hospitality industry. Kiosk users also will have at their fingertips all of the resources necessary for a successful, convenient and efficiently productive trip. Local merchants will be able to reach potential new customers through online advertising.
Pacific Bell has installed the kiosks in agreement with ATCOM/INFO, a San- Diego-based company that is the leading provider of interactive kiosks. The kiosks can be found in concourses of Terminal One and in Terminal Two, between American Airlines gates 23 and 25. Use of the kiosk service will be priced at 33 cents a minute, payable with a credit card and pre-paid access cards.
Pacific Bell provides basic and leading-edge telephone services and products to over 9 million business and residential customers -- a total of more than 16 million access lines -- throughout California. Pacific Bell Internet Services is a full-service Internet provider serving business and residential customers. The company offers a broad range of Internet access services that feature simple, affordable and reliable ways for communicating with the estimated 25 to 30 million users on the world's largest and most powerful computer network.
Both are companies of SBC Communications, Inc., a global leader in the telecommunications industry, with more than 32 million access lines and more than five million wireless customers across the United States, as well as investments in telecommunications businesses in nine countries. Under the Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell, Nevada Bell and Cellular One brands, the company, through its subsidiaries, offers a wide range of innovative services, including local and long-distance telephone service, wireless communications, paging, Internet access, cable TV and messaging, as well as telecommunications equipment, and directory advertising and publishing. SBC (www.sbc.com) has more than 118,000 employees and reported 1996 revenues of $23.5 billion. SBC's equity market value of $56.2 billion (as of September 30, 1997) ranks it as one of the five largest publicly-traded telecommunications companies in the world.