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BT invests £2.7 million to bring innovative InLink stations and superfast wifi to Belfast

  • InLinkUK and BT have partnered to offer Belfast residents, visitors, and shoppers the fastest free public Wi-Fi in the UK, free calls to landlines and mobiles, free mobile charging points, and a range of digital services, including local council and community information.

    If you've visited Belfast city centre lately, you might have noticed some sleek new interactive units popping up across the city. Packed with digital toolsets that serve the community, the Inlink units provide a touchpoint for our city's inhabitants and visitors and are a welcome step beyond the traditional BT payphone.

    The free Inlink from BT service will make Belfast the first NI city to benefit from the fastest free public Wi-Fi in the UK, alongside a range of other helpful features provided by the link stations. The service will involve a £2.7 million investment in the city over the next decade, with nine InLinks initially launched in Belfast today and more planned for the near future.

    A one-touch charity button on the inbuilt tablet starts a free call to four national lifeline charities -- Childline, End Youth Homelessness, Runaway Helpline, and Samaritans. The InLinks are designed for wheelchair access and also offer assistance for those who have sight and visual impairments.

    The InLink service is funded by its own advertising revenue, bypassing the need for council funding despite the significant community features packed into the units. 


    Comments on the InLink from BT rollout

    Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Deirdre Hargey
    “As Belfast builds on its growing reputation as a centre of digital innovation, it’s great to see another development for the public and businesses which supports our digital ambition and strategic vision to develop our Smart City credentials.

    “In addition to this, the technology being provided will offer greater connectivity for the public, helping to increase footfall on our high street, and aid retail and economic growth as a result.”

    Christopher Morrow, Head of Communications & Policy at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    “NI Chamber congratulates BT on this exciting piece of infrastructure that will help visitors recognise Belfast as a modern, forward-looking, technologically advanced city - supporting the tourist and retail economy and helping to attract investment.

    “By providing facilities for people to make free calls, access free wi-fi and charge their phones, the InLink service will add much to a city already bursting with creativity and entrepreneurial spark.”

    Paul Murnaghan, BT’s Enterprise Division Director
    “At BT, we want to offer greater connectivity for everyone. Digital equality is really important to us, as we want everyone to be able to get online for free, and this project will provide the infrastructure to better help all those who live and work in Belfast. 

    “We are pleased that we can now offer these benefits to local people and welcome the support from Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce in our ambition to help make Belfast one of the UK’s most digitally connected cities.

    “Our InLink service is already transforming high streets across Britain, removing unwanted payphones and giving streets a modern facelift with our compact and free of charge Wi-Fi and digital services.”  

    Matt Bird, General Manager of InLinkUK
    “We are keen to continue our very successful roll out of the InLink from BT service to benefit consumers in Belfast. 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 Belfast.”

    SOURCE: Press release

    About the author

    Tina Lauro Pollock is the editing eye at Sync NI and looks after its clients. She has a particular interest in the gaming sector, big data, women in tech and business, and start-ups. To connect with Tina, feel free to seek her out on Twitter, find her on LinkedIn, or schedule a chat by sending her an email.

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