Wandsworth residents can now enjoy free phone calls and mega-fast wi-fi from new network of multi-media communication hubs

Published: Thursday 15th March 18

Wandsworth residents can now charge their mobile phones, make free calls and surf the net via ultra-fast wi-fi at a network of digital communication hubs across the borough.

Initially 22 new InLinks multi-media hubs are being installed across Wandsworth as direct replacements for 44 obsolete payphone kiosks, and more are planned for the coming months. This week saw the first ones switched on and fully activated.

Cllr Cook with one of the new multi-media hubs in Lavender Hill

They offer local people free calls and access to free ultra-fast wi-fi (1(Gbps) and according to InLinkUK the download speeds deliver “the fastest and most robust public wi-fi network in the UK”, offering speeds up to 85 times faster than “standard broadband”.

This means that in optimal conditions people will be able to download a two hour film on to a handset or tablet in around 12 seconds, while a 45 minute TV show would be available to watch after less than two seconds and a five minute YouTube video in less than half a second. Built-in safeguards mean the units don’t allow adult content to be downloaded.

People can also make free landline and mobile phone calls via an integrated touchscreen  – especially important for those on limited pay-as-you-go plans or out of credit - and also for those whose phones are out of charge. It also has a dedicated emergency button that allows people without phones to call 999.

Digital screens display local maps and weather information, alongside travel information about local bus, tube and rail services. The screens are also expected to carry local information from organisations like the council and the police as well as community content. Some commercial advertising will also be shown to meet the cost of providing this free public service.

The units also feature two waterproof USB ports which can be used to charge up mobile phones and tablets, including those with the latest “fast charge” technology. This means these latest generation phones could get a ten per cent charge in under three minutes.

Removing obsolete old phone kiosks also means less street clutter on pavements. The modern replacements are much thinner and sleeker and require a smaller footprint than the kiosks they are replacing thus freeing up more pavement space for pedestrians. 

The hubs offer free calls, free phone & tablet charging and free-ultra fast Wi-Fi

The InLinkUK from BT communications service is planning to install around 75 of these new hi-tech units in total across Wandsworth meaning this latest on-street technology could soon be available in virtually every neighbourhood in the borough. In each case they will replace two redundant BT payphone kiosks.

Community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “These impressive multi-media hubs offer the public a really excellent range of free services and I am delighted they’ve arrived in Wandsworth.

“Their introduction means that residents and visitors to our borough can now enjoy free phone calls, free mega-fast wi-fi and access to travel updates, maps, local guides plus wide ranging information on local public services.

“I checked the download speed on one in Clapham Junction yesterday and was amazed at how fast it was. It frankly dwarfed anything that most residents and businesses will be used to.

“Their sleek, slim, aluminium-style design are a much more useful and attractive sight than the now largely redundant pay phone kiosks they are replacing, none of which are of the famous traditional red Gilbert Scott design. And with every single InLink hub replacing two payphone kiosks it also means a lot less clutter on pour streets.”

Neil Scoresby, BT’s general manager for Payphones and InLinkUK said: “It’s great news that we’ve started to roll-out the next generation phone box in Wandsworth. The digital services will make a big difference for people on-the-go who all need information quickly whether they live there or are visiting this borough and want to discover more about it. Charging points, free phone calls, ultrafast Wi-Fi, maps and local information will all be well-used I’m sure.”

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Recent comments

Seems to be a very hard sell trying to convince people that streets cluttered with even more advertising is a benefit to the local community. Pretty sure it will only encourage groups of kids to congregate and will be of no benefit to anyone else.

16 March 2018

These are nothing to do with phone calls, wifi or charging phones and everything to do with ruining our environment with yet more monetised advertising. I find it patronising that these are spun as a benefit. To 99% of people these are nothing more than an eyesore and needless obstruction. We live in a world of 4G, data is now inexpensive. Who needs to download a 2 hour film on to a phone in 12 seconds!? Who is going to stand around one of these things for an hour to charge their phone (while risking having it stolen)? In Clapham Junction station we now have a giant billboard so bright they can see it from space! Another on Lavender hill. Wandsworth council stop selling out! Stop this preposterous destruction of our environment!

16 March 2018

Great. Something else to obstruct the pavement. You could get rid of at least 75% of phone boxes and no one would notice except the advertisers. There are three different phone boxes right by each other on Putney Bridge Road (just off the High Street). Other than as a place for the clubbers to urinate, they are never used.

16 March 2018

What a great idea and also great to get rid of the old phone boxes that are so unsightly and unhygienic

16 March 2018

I looked at one of these today, but there seem to be no instructions as to how to use them. Where can we find out?
Maroussia Richardson

15 March 2018