Aberdeen has become the second city in Scotland to benefit from the free InLink from BT service, offering residents, visitors and shoppers the fastest free public wi-Fi in the UK, free calls to landlines and mobiles, free mobile charging points plus a range of digital services, including local council and community information.
The InLink service from BT, which will provide an expected investment of £1.7 million in the city over the next ten years, will join the likes of Glasgow, London and Cardiff in offering access to these innovative free services. More than 400 InLink units are now live across the UK.
With two ultra-modern InLink units initially introduced into Aberdeen city centre, at Upperkirkgate and Palmerston Road, a further eight activations are expected in the coming weeks, including Union Street and George Street. The new state of the art InLinks are replacing 23 existing payphones, offering more space on pavements, as on average, one unit replaces two BT payphones. BT’s iconic red phone boxes will remain.
Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “Aberdeen continues to build its reputation as a destination for business and tourism. It’s great to see another development for local people, visitors and businesses which supports our digital ambitions. Supporting our city centre with fast wi-fi and other services will help increase footfall, and aid retail and economic growth as a result.”
Also welcoming the investment, Innes Walker, city centre manager for Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The addition of InLink devices to the city centre will help visitors recognise Aberdeen as a modern, forward-looking, technologically advanced city, supporting the tourist and retail economy and helping to attract investment. It is a great enhancement and one that Aberdeen inspired, along with Aberdeen City Council, have worked closely with BT on. By providing facilities for people to make free calls, access free wi-fi and charge their phones, the InLink service will add much to our city.”
The InLink service from BT, which is funded by advertising revenue to deliver free services at no cost to the taxpayer and local councils, already has more than 319,000 subscribers across the UK. Additional unique InLink features include encrypted wi-fi, which protects your personal information when connected on compatible devices, interactive maps which allow users to easily get from one location to another, an emergency 999 call button and the option to add air quality monitors to allow local governments to build sustainable clean-air strategies.
David Wallace, BT Director for public sector in Scotland and chair of the BT Scotland board, said: “At BT, inclusive services are really important to us and we want everyone to be able to make the most of digital opportunities. The new InLink service from BT will benefit all of those who live, work and visit Aberdeen.
“We welcome the support from Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Inspired in helping us deliver this new service. Across the UK, InLink is already transforming high streets, removing unwanted payphones and giving streets a modern facelift with our compact and free of charge wi-fi and digital services.”
Providing ultrafast wi-fi speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps), the fastest free public wi-fi service available in the UK, each InLink also provides more than 1,000 hours of local messaging a year, acting as a community notice board for the area. These services are provided to the community at no public cost, as the project is funded by advertising revenue.
Matt Bird, General Manager of InLinkUK, said: “We are keen to continue our very successful roll out of the InLink from BT service to benefit consumers in Aberdeen. We want to support consumers’ digital innovation ambitions by offering city workers, shoppers and tourists free digital services and help to create a Smart city in Aberdeen.”
The InLinkUK from BT service is dedicated to providing all-inclusive digital services, one of which is their charity icon on the tablet. A free one-touch lifeline to four national charities, which provides free calls to Childline, End Youth Homelessness, Runaway Helpline and Samaritans. The InLinks are also designed for wheelchair access and offer additional digital services, including for those who have sight and visual impairments.
InLinkUK from BT is a partnership between BT and tech start up InLinkUK.