London – BT Consumer is ready to launch LinkUK that provides the fastest public Wi-Fi available, mobile charging, phone calls and local information. The telecommunications company will replace hundreds of phone booths with Link kiosks in London.
Considered as the next step in the evolution of BT’s public payphone service, the kiosks will give further digital functions at no cost next year. LinkUK is the result of a three-way partnership between BT, Intersection, and Primesight.
Owned by Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, Intersection is the largest local media company in the United States. Intersection’s first product LinkNYC turned about 7,500 old public payphones into kiosks to create a network that covers New York City with free Wi-Fi service.
People will enjoy these services without spending a single penny thanks to Primesight’s input. The outdoor advertising company from the United Kingdom will fund them through revenues from its ads on the Links’ digital displays. BT intends to give 5% of the advertising airtime to non-profit organizations or non-commercial causes.
Additionally, BT plans to give 5% of the advertising airtime to non-profit organizations or non-commercial causes.
The kiosks are going to do more than just providing free Wi-Fi
Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, said that expanding the capital city’s digital infrastructure has top priority for the state.
LinkUK will improve connectivity for Londoners and visitors alike. Fewer phone boxes will mean less reduce street clutter, too. BT will work together with local communities and councils to determine the best spot for each Link.
Sensors installed in the Links will capture real-time data from the local environment such as air and noise pollution, temperature, and traffic. Enabled to work with smart devices, the kiosks are the latest addition to the growing world of the Internet of Things (IoT).
The London Borough of Camden expects to welcome at least 100 Links with speeds of up to 1Gbps. The first ones should arrive in 2017. The city plans to install 750 more kiosks in central London and across other major cities in the UK over the next few years.
Link kiosks in NYC and London are the phone boxes of the future
Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT Wholesale and Ventures, said phone boxes had lost relevance in the 21st century. Evolution is their only salvation. So they will now offer free Wi-Fi as well as a series of digital and information services.
London is the second city after NYC to have Links spread around its streets. The government of New York City held several competitions to find an innovative idea that would reinvent the payphone system.
The winner was LinkNYC, which launched back in January with the installation of the first wi-fi kiosks.
Each Link in the UK includes 1Gbps Wi-Fi, two USB ports for charging, a touchscreen tablet to access maps, free landline, and mobile phone calls as well as directions and local services.
They also feature two high-definition digital displays for service announcements and neighborhood advertising of global and local businesses.