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The Future of Broadband Cabinets

Posted on 23rd August 2023 at 16:24

The future of electric vehicle (EV) charging could be on your street corner, thanks to an innovative initiative by BT Group’s innovation arm, Etc.

As the UK transitions to full fibre networks, BT’s big green street cabinets, which currently provide copper-based broadband and phone services, are set to be decommissioned. But rather than becoming obsolete, these cabinets could be repurposed into EV charging points.

BT estimates that up to 60,000 of its 90,000 cabinets could be suitable for retrofitting. Over the next two years, Etc. will conduct a series of technical and commercial pilots to determine the feasibility of such a large-scale conversion. The first of these pilots will kick off in Northern Ireland this autumn, initially offering BT Group colleagues access to the charging ports. The company plans to expand the trial to the public and launch more pilot locations across the UK later in the year.

The need for more EV charging points in the UK is pressing. With the ban on sales of internal combustion engine vehicles coming in 2030, and with only around 45,000 public charge points today, the UK needs a massive upgrade to meet the needs of the EV revolution. The UK government aims to grow the number of EV charge points from around 45,000 today to 300,000 by 2030 and has allocated £1.6bn to get the job done.

However, despite these ambitions, recent analysis shows that the UK is “10 years behind” on its charging infrastructure commitments, which risks derailing the transition to greener transport. This is where initiatives like BT Group’s could play a crucial role.

Businesses across Europe are starting to capitalise on the government’s sluggish response. In Ireland, for instance, startups are developing solutions to bridge the gap between the growth of EV sales and the roll-out of charge points. These startups are set to benefit from new regulations passed last week which require fast recharging stations to be installed every 60 km along the EU’s main transport corridors by 2025.

Back in the UK, it remains to be seen whether BT will make a dent in the government’s EV charging targets. The company said it is weighing up whether to go into this venture alone or with a pre-established charging partner, acknowledging the necessity to work with local councils and authorities in order to get the infrastructure installed smoothly.

The future of EV charging could be closer than we think, with the potential for charging points to be as common as street cabinets. This innovative approach by BT Group’s Etc. could be a game-changer in the EV revolution.

#EVRevolution #GreenFuture #InnovationInAction #BTInnovation #GreenRevolution #EVChargingPoints

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