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Sheffield, Newcastle and Gateshead Get BT InLinkUK Gigabit WiFi Kiosks

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 (2:31 pm) - Score 1,462
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BT has this month extended the roll-out of their new InLinkUK smart kiosks to Sheffield, Newcastle and Gateshead. The kiosks claim to offer “ultrafast” 1Gbps capable free public WiFi, free UK phone calls, USB device charging and a range of other digital services to help people in the vicinity.

Apparently 7 InLinks are being installed around Gateshead’s Trinity Square, while 3 will follow in Sheffield’s city centre and just 1 has been installed and activated on Newcastle’s Northumberland Road. More are due to follow and BT said that “on average, each InLink replaces two BT payphones.”

The InLinkUK kiosks reflect a partnership between BT, Intersection (LinkNYC) and advertising company Primesight. The plan is that they will eventually replace over 1,000 pay phones in major cities across the UK. At least some of the funding for these kiosks is extracted via revenues from advertising on the large 55″ HD digital displays.

So far 200 InLinks have been installed across London, Leeds, Glasgow, Southampton and the aforementioned cities; with hundreds more due to be installed in the near future. Since the first InLink was installed in June last year, more than 148,000 people have subscribed to their free wi-fi and the kiosks have allegedly also saved people more than £660,000 in free calls, with 50,000 calls being made on average every week.

However we’d take BT’s claims of offering the “UK’s fastest free public wi-fi” with a pinch of salt, not least since we know of other such free networks that claim to be supplied by 1Gbps of capacity and no evidence is provided to support their statement. Equally previous speedtests have shown that real-world performance actually tends to come in well below the headline claim (here), albeit still very fast.

Wireless broadband signals and network congestion are of course notoriously difficult things to tackle in a real-world environment.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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5 Responses
  1. Robert Simms

    There is lots of these currently being installed around Leicester as well but so far they are not active for use. Most are powered up with a BT advertising but are awaiting backhaul to them now

  2. 5G Infinity

    Reminds me of Rabbit Phone, you need to go to and stand next to the kiosk to access WiFi rather than the WiFi coming to you as you sit in Cafe Nero or similar.

    Rabbit Phone went the way of the wind.

  3. wirelesspacman

    “…saved people more than £660,000 in free calls, with 50,000 calls being made on average every week.”

    IF it really has saved people more than £660,000 then that HAS to mean that those people have actually had reduced phone bills as a direct result – very unlikely in my view given the number of people that will be on “unlimited” calls packages. More likely, in my view, would be that BT has used its horrendous “standard” call charges to calculate the £660,000.

    Of course the stat that BT would not fess up to would be the cost of those calls to BT (which is really just the cost to BT of terminating those calls on other phone company networks). If we take an example of all calls being two minutes long and all made to non-BT owned mobile operators, then the cost of 50,000 calls would be only around £500 per week. If say 50% are to fixed lines, and 2/3 of what’s left to non-BT owned mobile operators then the cost would drop to around £167 per week.

    • James Blessing

      I would assume they use EE’s standard 35ppm rate for PAYG calls outside of tariff as the baseline for their calculation…

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