LinkUK from BT

Launched on the 25th October 2016, LinkUK interactive kiosks from BT (British Telecom) are set to replace hundreds of older and much larger telephone kiosks across cities in the UK. The new LinkUK kiosk has a much smaller footprint than existing telephone boxes such as the KX100, K6 and K2, measuring just 27cm wide by 89cm long. LinkUK from BT brings digital innovation including:

‣Free ultrafast Wi-Fi with speeds of up to 1Gbps
‣Free UK landline and mobile calls
‣Free mobile device charging
‣Free access to maps, directions and local and emergency services
‣Two 139.7cm HD displays for digital advertising, public service announcements and local content

LinkUK background:

In 2015, BT requested a proposal from a partner to take over advertising for their payphone franchise starting in 2017. The franchise was secured by leading UK outdoor advertising company Primesight and urban innovation company Intersection who joined forces to create LinkUK. LinkUK's term is for a 10 year deal with potential auto-renewals. As part of the agreement with BT, Primesight will also sell advertising on nearly 17,500 BT payphone kiosks across the UK.

London locations before UK wide rollout

Launching in London, the project will extend to cities across the UK. At least 750 Links will be installed over the next few years.

Hundreds of BT's existing phone boxes will be replaced with the new Links to reduce clutter on the street. The traditional red phone boxes e.g. K6, many of which are designated grade II listed buildings, will not be replaced.

LinkUK features:

‣LinkUK connects the fastest available internet service to the fastest commercially available Wi-Fi equipment and opens all that bandwidth for people to use -- no data caps or time-outs.
‣Each Link can support hundreds of Wi-Fi users simultaneously.
‣Antenna Design is responsible for the sleek, ultramodern physical design of the Link.
‣At 27cm wide and 89cm long, the footprint of each Link is much smaller than existing phone boxes on UK pavements today.
‣Each Link is built to withstand extreme heat and cold, rain, snow and flooding, earthquakes, vandalism and theft –- all while conforming to safety standards.
‣The touchscreen tablet runs on a secure Android operating system. Through the tablet, people can access local services and get maps and directions.
‣Additional apps and services will be rolled out on an ongoing basis over the next several years.
‣ Services come at no cost to users or taxpayers as they will be funded by advertising revenues generated by the Links' digital displays.

LinkUK from BT Key Features:

1. Connect to free ultrafast Wi-Fi using your personal device.

2. Access maps, directions, and city services from an easy-to-use touchscreen tablet.

3. Stay in touch with free phone calls from BT.

4. Press the dedicated red 999 button in the event of an emergency.

5. Safely charge your device using one of two USB ports.

6. Enjoy more room on the pavement with Link's sleek, resilient design.

7. View public service announcements and more relevant advertising on two 135.7cm HD displays.

LinkUK from BT Press release (25th October 2016)

Londoners will benefit from the fastest free public Wi-Fi available, free phone calls and a range of other free digital services from next year, thanks to a new partnership between BT, Intersection, the urban innovation company behind LinkNYC, and Primesight, a leading UK outdoor advertising company.

A new service, called LinkUK from BT, will see sleek, ultramodern kiosks called Links rolled out to major high streets across the capital. Hundreds of users within range of a Link 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 free premium services available from the Links will include UK landline and mobile phone calls, mobile device charging and access to maps, directions and local services. These services will come at no cost to users or taxpayers as they will be funded by revenues from advertising on the Links' digital displays.

Rajesh Agrawal, London's Deputy Mayor for Business, said: "I welcome this exciting new addition to London's streets. Expanding London's digital infrastructure is a priority for the Mayor, and LinkUK can play a big part in improving connectivity for Londoners and visitors to our city, while reducing street clutter by upgrading and reducing the number of phone boxes. I look forward to working with BT, Intersection and Primesight to see how we can roll LinkUK across the capital, and to explore its future potential.

"London is already widely regarded as one of the technological capitals of the world but the Mayor is determined to improve connectivity across the city to ensure we maintain that position." The rollout also marks the next evolution of BT's public payphone service as hundreds of BT's existing phone boxes across the capital will be replaced by the new Links. As well as providing a far greater range of services to the public for free, the Links will bring digital innovation to the streets of London, while helping to reduce the amount of clutter on the street. This is because they take up less space on the pavement and will be installed in smaller numbers than the existing payphones they replace.

Gerry McQuade, CEO, BT Wholesale and Ventures, said: "We're evolving the phone box to make it relevant in the 21st century by offering people ultrafast Wi-Fi and a range of digital and information services entirely for free. London is one of the greatest cities in the world and it's entirely fitting that it becomes the first UK city to benefit from the Links. But we will be rolling out many more Links to the other great cities across the UK over the coming months as we look to transform the look and functionality of our public payphones."

The new Links will also feature sensors, which can capture real-time data relating to the local environment, including for example, air and noise pollution, outdoor temperature and traffic conditions. This could potentially introduce an exciting new range of smart services to local councils and communities based on the Internet of Things.

Up to 100 Links are expected to be installed in the London Borough of Camden - with the first ones due to appear in 2017. At least 750 Links will be installed across central London and in major cities across the UK over the next few years. London is second only to New York in welcoming Links to its streets, which were first installed in January this year as part of LinkNYC.

Councillor Theo Blackwell, Camden Cabinet member for Finance, Technology & Growth, said: "Camden council wants to improve digital connectivity and be at the forefront of change.

"The plans for Link kiosks submitted by LinkUK from BT represent a really exciting step forward. They are proven and popular on the streets of New York City. If approved, will mean that Camden is the first council in the UK to host these innovative services. It will be a further step as Camden council seeks to improve digital access and better serve residents, businesses and visitors alike."

Dan Doctoroff, Chairman & CEO at Intersection, said: "As a global hub for media and technology, London is the ideal city for Intersection to invest in the expansion of connectivity, digital innovation and our business. LinkUK from BT will bring tremendous benefits to Londoners, visitors, local businesses, and international brands and we look forward to working with our partners, BT and Primesight, to transform this great city's streetscape."

As part of the agreement with BT, Primesight will also sell advertising on nearly 17,500 BT payphone kiosks across the UK.

Naren Patel, CEO of Primesight, said: "Link UK from BT represents an incredible opportunity for advertisers to access a unique and world leading digital Out of Home platform across the UK as we work with BT revolutionising their payphones to meet the demands and opportunities of the 21st century. Our partners at Intersection have designed an incredible product that will offer free UK calls, the fastest public Wi-Fi, a mobile charging station as well as tablet which will provide a host of useful information. The Link unit will help transform the streets and lives of the people in the UK."

Each Link will give users free services including up to 1Gbps Wi-Fi, two USB charging ports, a touchscreen tablet for accessing maps, directions and local services and free UK landline and mobile phone calls.

Links will also have two 55" (139.7cm) high-definition digital displays, able to display public service announcements, as well as neighbourhood advertising for global and local businesses enabling them to reach customers at the right place and right time.

BT and the LinkUK partners will work with councils and local communities to determine the best location for each Link.

For more information about LinkUK visit: www.linkuk.uk

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Page last updated: 1st November 2016