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Innovative digital street units go live in Leeds

Leeds shoppers get free public ultrafast wi-fi and phone calls
Leeds shoppers get free public ultrafast wi-fi and phone calls

Christmas shoppers in Leeds are the first people outside of London to benefit from free ultrafast wi-fi and calls via new street units called InLinkUK from BT. The units offer ultrafast wi-fi speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps), the fastest free public wi-fi service available in the UK, as well as free phone calls to UK landlines and mobiles.

The launch came with an extra special festive treat as the integrated tablet feature included a free Call Santa feature enabling people to leave messages for Father Christmas during the run up to Christmas. Fourteen InLinks will ‘go live’ in Leeds, also providing residents and visitors with a range of other free digital services, including free mobile device charging, access to maps, directions and local services and a BT Phone Book app.

The first Inlink has already gone live on The Headrow, and with Leeds recognised as the third best place to shop in the UK, home to major destinations such as Leeds Art Gallery, four major theatres and four leading universities, welcoming this new communications service into the city will solidify its position as one of the UK’s most prominent and diverse digital cities, providing access to all. The InLinks come with digital displays featuring real-time information, such as the weather forecast and council and community messaging. InLinkUK from BT are able to offer their services to the community at no public cost, as the project is funded by advertising revenue.

Cllr James Lewis, Deputy Leader and Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources and Strategy, said: “It is fantastic that Leeds was the first city outside of London to be chosen by InLinkUK and BT as the home for this exciting state-of-the-art digital technology. We have set out an ambition for Leeds to become a major centre of excellence for technology and innovation. It is brilliant therefore that residents and visitors to Leeds city centre will have the chance to experience the wide range of digital services that are available through these new InLinks.”

Neil Scoresby, BT’s General Manager for Payphones and InLinkUK, said: “It is great news that Leeds is the first city outside London to benefit from this new state-of-the-art ‘phone box. It means that visitors and residents will benefit from the fastest free public wi-fi in the UK, make calls for free and even charge their phone when out and about. InLinkUK is there for them not only this Christmas but throughout the year.”

Matt Bird, General Manager, InLinkUK, added: “Leeds marks a very exciting stage in our national InLink roll out, and is the second UK city to benefit from the free services InLinks offer. When we launched InLinkUK we said that we wanted to bridge the digital divide and create smarter communities. By bringing InLinks to another major city outside of the capital, we are now starting a new phase in our journey and look forward to the service rolling out to other areas in the coming months."