The move broadens the retailer’s range of services following the successful launch of John Lewis Insurance in 2010 which has seen an increase in uptake by customers of 45 per cent year on year.
The John Lewis broadband service, which replaces existing Waitrose and Greenbee broadband services, is available to customers across the UK via johnlewisbroadband.com, in shops or over the phone, in line with the retailer’s omni-channel strategy. Freephone UK customer support is available all day every day, there are no activation fees and all customers pay the same price wherever they live.
John Lewis Telecoms Manager Adam Brown said: ‘This move complements the range of services and products we offer – over 80 per cent of all our consumer electronics sales are WiFi enabled and we know our customers want the same honest and trustworthy experience from their internet provision as they would expect from any product they buy from us.
‘John Lewis broadband gives customers an upfront and transparent price on a range of broadband and phone packages with no hidden terms and conditions, a simple 12 month contract with no hidden catches and the excellent customer service that we are renowned for.’
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BT last sold red boxes direct to the public in the mid 1980’s when thousands of old K6s were sold off at public auctions as part of an extensive payphone modernisation programme.
X2 Connect and BT are selling original cast iron K6 red phone boxes refurbished to a high standard and finished in their original red and black livery. Prices start at £1,950.
Katherine Ainley, general manager for BT Payphones, said: “Now you can buy a twentieth century design icon that’s famous around the world for your home or garden or you could even buy one as a gift for the person you know who has everything.”
The K6 celebrated its 75th birthday last year. The phone box was introduced in 1936 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V. The Jubilee kiosk, as it became known, was designed by English architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1880-1960). The Jubilee became the first genuinely standard telephone box to be installed all over the country. By the end of production in 1968 there were nearly 70,000 in Britain.
Sir Giles was also responsible for designing Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, Battersea Power Station and Bankside Power Station, now home to contemporary art gallery Tate Modern.
Since 2008, BT has been selling decommissioned red phone boxes to local communities for just a £1 under its Adopt a Kiosk scheme, enabling villages across the land to preserve part of theirs and Britain’s Heritage.
The scheme has captured the imagination of people up and down the country and more than 1,800 kiosks have already been adopted. Boxes have been fitted with lifesaving defibrillation machines, turned into art galleries, public libraries, exhibitions and information centres. One village even turned theirs into a one-night-only pub.
Katherine Ainley, continued: “The most fantastic thing about the Adopt a Kiosk scheme has been how communities across the country have become involved. Red phone boxes have become a focal point for all sorts of activities of real value to the local community. It’s so gratifying to see our old rarely used boxes given a new lease of life.
In 2002 there were 92,000 BT phone boxes on our streets, now there are 51,500 kiosks, including 11,000 traditional red phone boxes, across the UK.
As payphone use keeps falling – calls have declined by more than 80 per cent in the last five years and around 60 per cent of phone boxes lose money – the numbers of red and modern kiosks are set to continue to shrink, as BT cuts their numbers to match demand.
This is despite successful new ideas, which have helped phone boxes pay their way, including advertising on 20,000 modern kiosks and combining Wi-Fi and cash machine services with both modern and traditional red phone boxes.
People interested in owning their own piece of telecommunications history, should call: +44 (0)1636 611110 or visit http://www.x2connect.com/shop/BT__Red_Phone_Boxes_.php.
Top 10 red phone box facts
1. The K6 or “Jubilee Kiosk” commemorates the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V.
2. Kiosk No 6 was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, Battersea Power Station and Bankside Power Station now Tate Modern.
3. Sir Giles also designed the K2 and K3. The K4 kiosk was developed by the Post Office Engineering Department based on the K2 design.
4. The K6 was the first kiosk installed nationwide and the standard kiosk across the UK until the introduction of the K8 in 1968.
5. The K6 kiosk is made from cast iron with a teak door. It is 8’3″ tall (2.4 metres) and weighs three quarters of a ton (762 kilograms).
6. The K6 design was approved by the Post Office and the Royal Fine Arts Commission, which endorsed “Post Office red” as the standard colour.
7. Although Scott agreed to the use of “Post Office red” he was never a supporter of the colour and initially suggested the outside of the kiosk be painted silver and the inside greenish-blue. He strongly urged rural kiosks be painted dove-grey.
8. Two K6 kiosks were installed in France during 1995, for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
9. Two red K6’s have been transformed into combined payphones and cash machines.
10. There are 11,000 red phone boxes in use in the UK.
The history of the telephone Kiosk
In 1921, the first standard kiosk appeared, the K1. Two years later, the GPO held a competition to design a new kiosk. In 1926 the chosen design appeared, Giles Gilbert Scott’s K2. The K2 was too big and too expensive for mass production so the K1 Mk 236 was introduced. The GPO still wanted a new design and asked Sir Giles to produce another design, in 1929 the K3 appeared, a smaller, concrete version of the K2.
Introduced in 1927, the K4 was intended to be a 24-hour post office with a stamp machine and letterbox added to the back. It was nicknamed the Vermillion Giant and was a fantastic failure with only 50 produced. In 1934, a K5 was produced, made of plywood as a temporary kiosk for use at exhibitions and fairs etc.
With problems occurring with the K3, a new cast iron box was needed and in 1936 the K6 appeared for the first time on the streets. The kiosk was perfect, it had all the good points of the K1 and K3 mixed with the solidness of the K2 and most importantly, the small size and elegance the Post Office were looking for. The K6 was widely used to replace K1’s and K3’s.
In the 1960’s the Post Office were considering a new design. Neville Conder’s design for a K7 was chosen. It was made in aluminium and was tested in 1962. The K7 was not adopted as a new design and only five were made.
In 1965, another competition was held to design a new kiosk, the K8. Bruce Martin was the winning architect and his design appeared in 1968. It was a very new design to the previous ones. The main differences were that the glazing bars had gone to be replaced with just one big window on each side of the kiosk and the domed roof was replaced with a much flatter design. Nearly 4,000 K8s would appear, some of which replaced K6s. Vandalism was always a problem with telephone boxes and during the 1970’s British Telecom made another modification to the K6, many kiosks had their glazing bars ripped out and had a single piece of glass put in like the K8.
O2 today confirmed that its 4G network now covers one third of the UK population indoors, reaching 191 towns and cities across the country, from Paisley in Scotland to Brighton on the south coast. O2’s 4G network reaches 41% of the population outdoors.
Since its 4G launch in August 2013, O2 has amassed over one million 4G customers. Those customers used more data in the 4G network’s first six months than the entire O2 network carried between 2000 and 2008, demonstrating the unprecedented demand for fast and seamless data services.
The announcement comes as O2 sheds light on its ambitious nationwide network modernisation programme – one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects taking place in the UK today. Around 25% of O2’s 2G and 3G masts will be upgraded by the end of 2014 in order to deliver an increase in call quality and all round network experience, improving both call and data connectivity at peak times and in high-density areas.
The comprehensive upgrade work, completed on an area-by-area basis, covers a range of modernisation techniques. Sites are assessed individually and key components are refreshed or replaced, including fibre connections, radio equipment, remote monitoring devices and antennas.
The improvements in 2G are particularly crucial to power the ever-growing M2M industry, enabling valuable business data to power services including vehicle recovery and vending machines.
O2 has also committed to investing an additional £16m to bring data coverage to places that have never had it before. Over 200 areas across the UK will get their first taste of 3G data coverage from O2 this year. This will open up possibilities for both customers and businesses to access data on the move, such as mobile email and internet browsing, for which they’ve previously relied on Wifi connections.
Derek McManus, COO of Telefonica UK (O2) commented: “Last year we launched our 4G network and undertook the fastest network roll-out in the history of our company. This year we’re continuing that roll-out and concurrently modernising our 2G and 3G networks.
“Building a great network isn’t just about bringing faster speeds to people that already have coverage. It’s vital that we also bring seamless coverage to people that have never had it before. Investment in all layers of our network is key to ensuring customers receive a great experience, whether that’s in streaming live goals in the pub or receiving critical business information.
“We continue to invest the equivalent of £1.5million in our network every single day to offer seamless connectivity for our customers across 2G, 3G, 4G and Wifi. and remain focused on delivering an experience that exceeds our customers’ expectations.”
In 2012, O2 and Vodafone announced a partnership to pool the basic parts of their network infrastructure. This deal, unlike a network sharing agreement, creates one national grid supporting two independent and competing networks both delivering mobile coverage and services across the UK.
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