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October 3, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

AT&T Co is out to make GEC Plessey Telecommunications Ltd’s pay telephones – in which protection from vandals was a key priority – look like items out of Noah’s Ark with its new Public Phone 2000, designed by AT&T Bell Laboratories, and dubbed a portable office for travelling business people. The phone has a 9 colour display and a data port so that users can plug in a laptop computer or portable facsimile machine to pick up electronic mail or send messages. And the phone can be equipped with a built-in keyboard – AT&T plans to put it onto 30% of the phones it installs – so that travellers can access their electronic mail or any dial-up home or office databases without a portable computer – but touch the keyboard and you pay: it costs $2.50 for the first 10 minutes and $1 for each additional 10 minutes on top of the price of the call from the card-operated phone. The monitor displays high-resolution graphics and text, and AT&T hopes to get Federal Communications Commission permission to offer access to a wealth of information services from the screen.The company is going ahead with weather forecasts, charging 75 cents for state information, 95 cents for a national US forecast. The phones are designed to replace existing AT&T Card Caller Public Phones in airports, hotels and convention centres.

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