How Portsmouth residents could get free wifi and phone calls when out and about

PORTSMOUTH could be brought into the 21st century with the installation of over 30 communication points that offer users free wi-fi, phone calls and mobile charging.

Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 7:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 7:08 pm
InLink in Glasgow Picture by Stewart Robertson

The hubs, known as InLinks, are already widely used across London, Leeds and Glasgow and also provide free access to maps, directions and local and emergency services as well as a screen for advertising, public service announcements and local content.

Already two of the points have been approved for installation outside the Pyramids Centre in Southsea and on land opposite the Hard Interchange.

BT and InLinkUK have also applied for permission to build eight of the communication sites in the city and are awaiting determination from the council on a further 26 sites. Areas for the devices include Commercial Road, Kingston Road, Palmerston Road and Fratton Road.

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Each InLink will replace two existing BT phoneboxes creating more space for pedestrians.

Councillors welcomed the potential arrival of the devices.

The council's boss for regeneration, Cllr Ben Dowling, said: 'As a planning application this will be properly looked at by a planning committee. But the principal of changing the service from what was traditional to something more suited to the 21st century is something we should look at and take seriously.'

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Tory Cllr Luke Stubbs added: 'As time has gone by phoneboxes have become increasingly unnecessary. If this is a way of reducing that clutter while giving members of the public free access to wifi and communication this would be a good thing.

'However, I do still remain concerned about the number of private companies that are seeking to install phoneboxes just to use them as advertising space.'

A spokesperson for InLinkUK said: '˜The introduction of the InLinkUK from BT service to Portsmouth, if successful in the planning process, will see the residents, visitors and local businesses have access to the UK's fastest free public wifi, free calls to UK mobiles and landlines, along with a range of other digital tools and services.'

The installation and services of the points will come at no cost to users or taxpayers as they will be funded by advertising revenues.