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BT is to roll out the fastest free public Wi-Fi system in London next year through its new LinkUK service.

Working in partnership with Intersection and Primesight, BT will create kiosks known as Links on major high streets across the capital.

Each Link will enable hundreds of people within range to enjoy ultrafast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1Gbps.

The Links will also offer other premium services for free, including UK landline and mobile phone calls, a touchscreen tablet for accessing maps, directions and local services and two USB charging ports for mobile devices.

Furthermore, they will feature sensors capable of capturing real-time data relating to the local environment, such as information on traffic conditions, air pollution and outdoor temperatures.

BT is therefore confident it could open up an "exciting new range of smart services" to local authorities and communities based on the Internet of Things.

The company has also confirmed that the Links will not carry any cost for users or taxpayers, as they will be funded by advertising revenues from kiosks' digital displays.

Gerry McQuade, Chief Executive of BT Wholesale and Ventures, commented: "We’re evolving the phone box to make it relevant in the 21st century by offering people ultrafast Wi-Fi and a range of digital and information services entirely for free. 

"London is one of the greatest cities in the world and it’s entirely fitting that it becomes the first UK city to benefit from the Links." 

Mr McQuade went on to confirm that this innovation will not be confined to London, as it will also be rolled out in other UK cities over the coming months.

Rajesh Agrawal, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business, added that this expansion of London's digital infrastructure is an "exciting" step forward.

"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," he said.

"London is already widely regarded as one of the technological capitals of the world, but the Mayor is determined to improve connectivity across the city to ensure we maintain that position."

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