Monday, June 25, 2018

News: BT planning free Wi-Fi for Rotherham town centre

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Telecoms giant, BT, looks set to steal a march on Rotherham Council's plans for free Wi-Fi in Rotherham town centre by bringing its phoneboxes into the 21st century.

The InLinkUK from BT service is delivered through a collaborative approach that sees traditional BT phone boxes replaced by new "InLinks" - fully-accessible community structures that can provide free ultrafast Wi-Fi, free UK landline and mobile calls and free mobile device charging.

At no cost to the taxpayer, the structures are paid for by advertising. BT is working with leading UK outdoor advertising company Primesight and urban innovation company Intersection. So far, around 150 InLinks are active in the UK, having been launched in London last year.

Now a series of planning applications have been submitted that would enable BT to replace phoneboxes on Howard Street, College Street and Upper Millgate in the town centre.

Powered by 100% renewable energy, InLinks have two 55" HD digital displays for advertising and are also used for real-time information, such as travel updates and weather forecasts. Each council is also provided with 5% of screen time​ on each InLink to promote and educate. This allocation is equivalent to 438 hours of screen time on each InLink every year.

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Users need to provide an email address to access the free Wi-Fi and so far over 100,000+ users have registered to access speeds that are up to 1 Gb per second within 100 metres. 587,000+ free phone calls have also been made.

Neil Scoresby, general manager for Payphones and InLink at BT, said: "We're really excited by InLinkUK from BT and the popularity of its services, such as free ultrafast Wi-Fi and free calls, show that it's proving a hit with customers as well. We're in discussion with many local councils about installing more InLinks and we're looking forward to rolling out InLinks to more London boroughs and major cities across the UK."

Matt Bird, general manager for InLinkUK, added: "We are making great progress in our journey of creating smart communities, and with the InLinks offering free ultrafast wi-fi and a host of other free digital services, we are well on our way to achieving this in key UK cities."

Rothbiz reported in May that Rotherham Council is developing a free Wi-Fi scheme using a concession contract that would see a private company install superfast and ultrafast broadband equipment in exchange for providing the bidder with exclusive use of council-owned street lights and street furniture for wireless communications.

As well as covering the main town centre shopping district, the proposal would also cover public open spaces such as Clifton Park.

InLink UK website

Images: InLink UK /

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