Southwark residents and businesses are to be some of the first groups to benefit from a new free Wi-Fi service, which also offers free phone calls and digital services, after technology giant BT announced plans to bring its new internet-connected street kiosks to the borough.
First unveiled last year and offering speeds of up to 1Gbps, the kiosks are also heading to Camden this year and allow “hundreds of users” to get online and access information while out and about.
The services are funded by advertising revenues, meaning there’s no cost to taxpayers or users.
More than 100 kiosks, known as ‘Links’, will be installed in Southwark, which is home to to a number of popular tourist and cultural attractions including The Shard and Tate Modern, with the first ones due to appear in 2017.
Councillor Peter John, OBE, leader of Southwark Council, said: “Southwark is one of the key business and cultural hubs in London and home to some of Britain’s most loved tourist attractions.
“The increased connectivity and access to local services Links will bring to Southwark will undoubtedly benefit residents, visitors and businesses alike and supports our ambition to become a digital council.”
Nick Hale, MD Ventures, BT Wholesale and Ventures, added: “This is the phone box of the future.
“We’re evolving the phone box to make it relevant to people in the 21st century by offering them ultrafast Wi-Fi, free phone calls, rapid mobile charging, a range of digital and information services and all for free.
“Southwark is at the heart of one of the greatest cities in the world and it’s entirely fitting that it will become one of the first boroughs in the UK to benefit from the new Links as we look to transform the look of our payphones and the services they offer the public.”