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BT to Purchase Entire UK Estate of InLinkUK WiFi Kiosks

Monday, December 23rd, 2019 (5:15 pm) - Score 8,118

BT has today announced a new deal that will see them bring all 494 of InLinkUK’s smart WiFi kiosks under their full ownership, which follows last weeks news (here) that the company created to deploy and manage the kiosks alongside BT, Intersection and advertising firm Primesight – InLink Limited – had called in the administrators.

The BT supported InLinkUK service was first launched in summer 2017. Since then hundreds of kiosks have been rolled out across 23 UK cities. All of these claimed to offer 1Gbps capable public WiFi (shared capacity), free UK phone calls, USB device charging and a range of other digital services to people in the vicinity. A large HD display on the side was also used to carry advertising, which helped to fund the units.

However the new kiosks have also attracted plenty of criticism. For example, some kiosks were used for drug-related calls (this was tackled but Bristol police later blocked an application for 20 kiosks due to related concerns) and in other cases planning applications may have suffered as a result of councils trying to tackle Trojan telephone boxes (here).

At the time of last week’s news, BT said it was “working hard with the administrator to agree a way forward to ensure the continuity of the InLink service so that the public can continue to enjoy the wide range of free services provided.” The good news is that they appear to have found a solution.

Katherine Ainley, BT’s MD of Ventures, said:

“The InLinks are delivering a wide range of economic, social and technology benefits to communities and local councils up and down the country – from connecting local residents, businesses and tourists to free ultrafast WiFi, to ensuring that people can contact the emergency services or charity helplines in times of need. That is why we’ve been working really hard to agree a way forward with all parties involved to safeguard the future of the InLink service.

By agreeing a deal with the administrators to purchase the remainder of the InLink network that we don’t already own, we can reassure councils and communities that the units will continue to function as normal over the coming weeks and months. We look forward to further developing our digital street strategy, and the InLink units will continue to form a critical part of this.”

BT’s advertising partner, Global, will continue to handle advertising sales, while Intersection will continue to provide the technology services for the InLink units. To date, around 1,000 of BT’s traditional payphones have been removed as the new kiosks have been deployed, freeing up a square kilometre of pavement space and enhancing city streetscapes (as well as saving BT some money in the process).

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar StillSLOWSPEEDSIN2019

    We live in 2019 right. I think it’s time to bring 1 gigabyte everywhere in the uk. All poor countries in europe already have high speed internet long long time ago. And such a rich country still use less than 70mbps download and 19mbps upload speed and even less in england just pathetic. It’s extremely hard to upload files with such slow speeds and stream properly. Huge companies should do something about this and not rely on old garbage. High speed internet is important for everyone and should be affordable. Especially upload speed is what we need in this country.

  2. Avatar Jack

    I’m in China now and despite having FTTH basically everywhere with gigabit speeds my upload speed is only 50mbps so it’s not all that different.

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