New digital street units have been switched on, providing ultrafast speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps) as well as free phone calls and a range of new free digital services.

The first of these new units, called InLinks, which will replace some of our existing payphones in the capital, have appeared on Camden High Street in London, thanks to a new partnership between BT, Intersection - the company behind LinkNYC, and Primesight - a leading UK outdoor advertising company.

[Read more: How BT innovates to give you the best broadband]

The new InLinkUK from BT service will start to be rolled out to other high streets in London and major cities throughout the country this year. Watch the video below to find out more:

Hundreds of users within range of an InLink will be able to access free ultrafast Wi-Fi on the move, with speeds of up to 1Gbps - the fastest free public Wi-Fi service available.

Other services available from the InLinks will include free UK landline and mobile phone calls, mobile device charging, access to maps, directions and local services, and a new BT Phone Book app enabling users to search for businesses by type and name, as well as people by name.

Evolution of the phone box

InLinks’ digital displays will feature real-time information, such as tube service updates, weather forecasts, and community messaging.

All InLink services are free of charge to users and taxpayers as the project is funded by advertising revenue generated by the InLinks’ digital displays.

The InLink design takes up less space on the street than a traditional payphone and will be installed in smaller numbers than the existing payphones they replace, freeing up space on pavements.

[Read more: 7 reasons why you need fibre optic BT Infinity]

London is the second city to benefit from the innovative units, following the launch of LinkNYC last year. Since the first units were switched on in New York City in January 2016, more than 1.8 million users have registered to use the Wi-Fi service.

Weather forecasts are available on the InLinks

Gerry McQuade, CEO, BT Wholesale & Ventures, said: “This is the phone box of the future. InLinkUK from BT brings the payphone up-to-date and gives people the services they need and use every day in the 21st century - and the bonus is it’s all for free.

“But as well as the free services - ultrafast Wi-Fi, phone calls, rapid mobile charging and local information – councils and community organisations will be able to use the screens to provide up-to-the minute news and information to local residents.

“And just as the phone box has evolved, the new InLinks could evolve to use the internet of things, with connected sensors to monitor and help us understand and improve our environment.”

Matt Bird, general manager, InLinkUK, said: “InLinks in the future will feature sensors to capture real-time environmental data, such as pollution and traffic conditions, never seen before in the UK at such a micro level.

“InLinks’ free connectivity and essential digital services will create connected corridors throughout the city to connect businesses to customers, residents to local services and visitors to a new part of London.”

Ari Buchalter, CEO, Intersection, said: “We’re excited about the potential of InLinkUK from BT to transform everyday life for residents and visitors of London and cities throughout the UK.”

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