The iconic red phone boxes that line the capital’s streets are soon to be transformed into ‘Links’ which provide free Wi-Fi, calls, and other digital services.
The LinkUK kiosks are set to replace defunct and aging phone boxes, turning them into ‘sleek, ultramodern kiosks’. The first hundred are expected to be installed in the London Borough of Camden in 2017. After that, at least 750 more will pop up across central London and then onto other major cities over the next few years.
We first heard of Links back in January when they were installed in New York under the name LinkNYC, by Sidewalk Labs’ start-up company, Intersection. LinkUK will be a three-way partnership between Intersection, BT as the carrier and ad partner Primesight.
Although the concept has been praised by officials in New York and London, it was reported by the New York Times that LinkNYC had some initial teething problems whereby people would “linger for hours, sometimes drinking and doing drugs and, at times, boldly watching pornography on the sidewalk,” and as a result the browsers had to be disabled. Intersection has said the LinkUK tablets will not provide unrestricted internet access to combat this issue.
Dan Doctoroff, Chairman & CEO at Intersection and Sidewalk Labs, 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.”
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