E-government kiosks to sell TV licences

Cardiff and London kick-start the first phase of a scheme to deliver government services through online kiosks today with the sale of TV licences.

Cardiff and London kick-start the first phase of a scheme to deliver government services through online kiosks today with the sale of TV licences.

Local authorities in both cities plan to add administration of council tax and parking fines to the kiosks next year, as part of the government's plans to get 100 per cent of public services online by 2005. The kiosk project is being handled by Cityspace, and according to Guy Wolfenden, the firm's business development manager, one of the main advantages of the system is it doesn't require consumers to enter credit card details manually. "The touch-screen display on the kiosks shows the same details as the TV licence web site (located at www.TV-I.co.uk) but there is no need to enter credit card details. Instead, the card is inserted, allowing the terminal to copy the details. These are encrypted before they are sent across to the licensing web site to be processed in the normal way." The television licence service is available on any of Cityspace's 36 kiosks. The company claims it won't make a profit out of the scheme in the short-term, but if it proves successful it will introduce a handling fee. Cityspace, currently in talks with three city councils, plans to install a further 1,000 kiosks over the next year and a total of 4,000 in the next three years.