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Telecom Boxes Becoming EV Charging Stations Across Britain–60,000 Curbside Cabinets Could Be Adapted

Andy Corbley

May 9, 2024

British telecom giant BT Group is now converting curbside cable boxes into charging stations for electric cars, helping Great Britain accelerate its transition to a net zero emissions economy.

Many of BT’s existing curbside cabinets are becoming obsolete due to people moving to wireless telephone and cable provision, but the same lines that provide electricity to the boxes should be able to fully charge an electric vehicle in about 6 to 8 hours.

These street cabinets are known in the industry as DSLAM boxes, which stands for digital subscriber line access multiplier. 7.4 kilowatt-hours are delivered to them for the furnishing of various telecom services, which means no additional power lines need to be laid for a charging station, and no digging up of the existing cabinet infrastructure needs be done.

The first such conversion has already been done in a place called East Lothian, Scotland.

BT Group is envisioning a payment application over the phone, or via contactless payment hardware, but hasn’t released any pricing details.

With over 60,000 such DSLAM boxes across the UK, BT Group say they envision the conversion as an excellent opportunity to “repurpose existing street furniture.”

There are currently about 54,000 charging stations in the UK, but drivers’ number one reason for selecting an internal combustion engine vehicle is the anxiety that a charging station won’t be available along their route, if driving an EV.

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To alleviate this real concern, the government hopes to encourage or finance the construction of 300,000 charging stations, and BT is planning to retrofit as many as 600 DSLAM cabinets by the end of the year.

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