BT is to offer free email, text messaging and internet access to all users of its kiosks from next Wednesday (24 Jan).

For those who've seen dummies of the BT kiosks in shopping centres for more than a year this move seems to have taken an awfully long time.

Telco giant BT has installed around 600 kiosks across the UK. This is ostensibly to offer people who do not currently have access to the internet the opportunity to use its services.

The move is in line with the government’s pledge to provide online internet access to everyone by 2005, and has been labelled a cornerstone in delivering online government access.

The has a full-colour touch-screen, as well as buttons to link the user directly to categories of websites. Adresses can then be typed in using the onscreen keyboard.

The phones will be available "absolutely everywhere", said Les King, spokesperson for BT payphones. BT has, it seems, put them in railway stations, motorway service stations and shopping centres, among other places.

Kiosk use will be free for unlimited internet access until 14 June as a trial.

“We will see how it goes for the first five months,” said King. “It is likely that some free content, perhaps sponsored, will remain. However some access will be charged for.” Seems even BT won't give us the web for free.

To find out where your local kiosk is, ring 0800 661610.