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Free ultrafast Wi-Fi, phone calls and digital services launch in London

Press Release   •   Jun 27, 2017 09:38 BST

InLinkUK from BT: Innovative digital street units to replace payphones

New digital street units providing ultrafast speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps) to Londoners - the UK’s fastest free public Wi-Fi service available – as well as free phone calls and a range of new free digital services, have been switched on today.

The first of these new units, called InLinks, which will replace some of BT’s existing payphones in the capital, have appeared on Camden High Street in London, thanks to a new partnership between BT, Intersection - the company behind LinkNYC, and Primesight - a leading UK outdoor advertising company.

The new InLinkUK from BT service will start to be rolled out to other high streets in London and major cities throughout the country this year.

Hundreds of users within range of an InLink will be able to access free ultrafast Wi-Fi on the move, with speeds of up to 1Gbps - the fastest free public Wi-Fi service available.

Other services available from the InLinks will include free UK landline and mobile phone calls, mobile device charging, access to maps, directions and local services, and a new BT Phone Book app enabling users to search for businesses by type and name, as well as people by name.

InLinks’ digital displays will feature real-time information, such as tube service updates, weather forecasts, and community messaging.

All InLink services are free of charge to users and taxpayers as the project is funded by advertising revenue generated by the InLinks’ digital displays.

The InLink design takes up less space on the street than a traditional payphone and will be installed in smaller numbers than the existing payphones they replace, freeing up space on pavements.

London is the second city to benefit from the innovative units, following the launch of LinkNYC last year. Since the first units were switched on inNew York City in January 2016, over 1.8 million users have registered to use the Wi-Fi service.

Gerry McQuade, CEO, BT Wholesale & Ventures, said: “This is the phone box of the future. InLinkUK from BT brings the payphone up-to-date and gives people the services they need and use every day in the 21st century - and the bonus is it’s all for free.

“But as well as the free services - ultrafast Wi-Fi, phone calls, rapid mobile charging and local information – councils and community organisations will be able to use the screens to provide up-to-the minute news and information to local residents.

“And just as the phone box has evolved, the new InLinks could evolve to use the internet of things, with connected sensors to monitor and help us understand and improve our environment.”

Matt Bird, general manager, InLinkUK, said:“InLinks introduce the technology we need to create a better urban environment.InLinks in the future will feature sensors to capture real-time environmental data, such as pollution and traffic conditions, never seen before in the UK at such a micro level.

InLinks’ free connectivity and essential digital services will create connected corridors throughout the city to connect businesses to customers, residents to local services and visitors to a new part of London.”

Naren Patel, CEO, Primesight, said: “As London continues to develop as a smart city, the launch of the InLinks will provide a real value exchange between consumers and brands.

“Consumers will see relevant content from brands on the screens and use the free services provided, and in turn brands will benefit from being associated with a product that will provide real benefits to the people in the communities. It’s a fast, smart, ad-funded product that is set to benefit consumers and advertisers alike.

“We’re looking forward to the installation of new InLinks over the next 12 months across London and the UK as we continue to invest in Digital Out of Home.”

Ari Buchalter, CEO, Intersection, said: “As a global hub for business, technology, and culture, London is the perfect environment for digital innovation.

“As we’ve seen in New York City with LinkNYC, providing free high-speed Wi-Fi access, real-time information, engaging content, and digital services on city streets can valuably enrich people’s experiences of a city on their daily journeys between home, work, shopping, and entertainment.

“It also provides unique opportunities for brands to deliver truly relevant advertising in the context of those real-world experiences. We’re excited about the potential of InLinkUK from BT to transform everyday life for residents and visitors of London and cities throughout the UK.”

Enquiries:
 
  For InLinkUK: See media pack (including image library): http://insight.newgatecomms.com/111b/inlinkuk-press-pack

Notes to Editors

Previously known as LinkUK, the joint venture team behind the ground breaking InLink product has chosen to update its name to InLinkUK to create a distinctive brand in the UK market.Their products will be known as InLinks in the UK, Links in NYC. There is no difference between Links in NYC and InLinks in the UK - both provide communities with free gigabit Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging, maps and access to local services.

Individual download speeds are dependent on a number of factors including: the capability of a user’s mobile device, distance from the Link, environmental conditions and the number of users connected at a given time.


BT’s Wi-Fi Network in the UK:

BT already operates the biggest network in the UK, giving customers unlimited access to the most extensive Wi-Fi coverage with more than five million hotspots.

Images:

For images, see The BT Media Image libraryandTelefocus - historical images from BT Archives.
 

About Primesight

Primesight Ltd is one of the leading out-of-home media owners in the UK with 150 staff. The company manages over 20,000 advertising sites, with recent investment focused on the development of ‘Network’ – digital billboard locations in cities throughout the country. Primesight have a mission to ‘Make an Impression’ operating the broadest reaching OOH advertising portfolio in the UK encompassing roadside, transport and cinema environments. Our partners include BT, Network Rail, TfL, Manchester Airport Group, DCM and Co-op. Primesight were awarded a 2-star status in the 2017 Best Companies awards, and are current holders of Campaign Outdoor Sales Team of the Year in 2015 and 2016 and Media Week Media Brand of the Year 2016

For further information, please contact: primesight@mww.com

About Intersection

Intersection is at the forefront of the smart cities revolution, improving the experience of public places through technology that provides connectivity, information, and engaging content and experiences. With award-winning products like LinkNYC, the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network in the world, Intersection connects the digital and physical worlds, enhancing people’s journeys through their cities and offering brands the opportunity to drive more relevant and engaging advertising, rooted in real-world location and physical context. Intersection partners with cities, transit systems, airports, and real estate developments around the globe, as well as advertisers seeking to reach audiences on a global, national, or local scale. Intersection is backed by Alphabet through its urban technology company Sidewalk Labs. Learn more at www.intersection.com.

For further information, please contactmedia@intersection.com

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com