Most of the classic red phone boxes may be phone-less these days, but the payphone is about to have a comeback. BT will install new payphones in London that offer free phone calls and ultrafast Wi-Fi to connect to.
Up to 100 of the sleekly designed kiosks, part of a new service called LinkUK, will arrive in the borough of Camden next year. Following that, BT hopes to install upwards of 750 kiosks in central London and other major cities.
Each one will offer ultrafast, 1Gb Wi-Fi; two USB charging ports; calls to UK landlines and mobiles; and a touchscreen for accessing maps and local services. Every single thing it offers will be available free to use.
They'll also have two huge 55-inch displays which can show things like public service announcements and, well, adverts, plus sensors that can capture data about things like the weather, pollution, and traffic. BT thinks this could offer helpful info for smart gadgets, too.
Rajesh Agrawal, London deputy mayor for business, said the city is looking forward to getting the new boxes. He said: "I welcome this exciting new addition to London's streets. Expanding London's digital infrastructure is a priority for the Mayor, and LinkUK can play a big part in improving connectivity for Londoners and visitors to our city, while reducing street clutter by upgrading and reducing the number of phone boxes."
The venture is a joint effort between BT, Intersection (who were also behind LinkNYC), and advertising company Primesight.