BT bring digital helpline hubs to UK streets

12 May 2018, 21:48   By Angela Moran

BT and InLinkUK's service to offer free digital helpline services for the UK's most vulnerable.

bt logo on wall
Credit: chrisdorney/

Using digital street kiosks members of the public will be able to get information and support services from charities including Childline, End Youth Homelessness, the Runaway Helpline and the Samaritans free of charge.

It's the latest addition to BT and InLinkUK's digital service that already offers free Wi-Fi and phone services in cities across the UK.

BT and InLinkUK's innovative communication network

BT and tech start up InLinkUK first came together last year as part of a venture to replace over 1,000 telephone booths with a more modern public communication service.

The new structures, digital units named InLinks, provide a number of free services including ultrafast Wi-Fi, phone calls and mobile charging facilities. Plus they offer digital information such as local city services, maps and directions.

This latest addition to the service will see icons for Childline, End Youth Homelessness, Runaway Helpline and the Samaritans featured on the tablets fitted to the digital units. Anyone in need of information or support from these charities can contact them by simply touching the relevant icon.

It's hoped that the initiative will enable some of the country's most vulnerable people, including the homeless and runaway children, to get much needed advice and support services.

Speaking about the inspiration behind this new venture Matt Bird, general manager at InLinkUK, said: "When we first started this project, we said that we wanted to make a difference in the communities we operate in."

"Connectivity is a big part of that and one of the reasons we offer ultrafast Wi-Fi and phone calls for free. By working with these key charities to develop the new charity tile on the tablets, accessible to anyone in need; we are continuing to use our InLink product to connect communities."

Grania Hyde-Smith, national services communications manager for Childline, said: "We're delighted to be on InLinks. At Childline we're always looking at new ways to increase our reach and help as many young people as we possibly can. InLinks will help us to reach and support even more young people with issues they might need to talk to us about, such as bullying, mental health issues and abuse, so we're very grateful to BT for supporting this venture."

Positive news after a difficult year for BT

News about BT and InLinkUK's latest service comes at a welcome time in what has otherwise been a difficult 12 months for the telecoms giant.

Firstly their ambitious universal broadband plans were challenged by rival providers and then they were criticised for increasing the prices of their broadband packages.

More recently, an Ofcom report revealed they were one of the most complained about providers for broadband, TV and mobile services.

But now BT are making the headlines again and this time for more positive reasons.

The first InLink was installed last June and since then 145 others have been unveiled across parts of London and Leeds. So far the service looks to be a success.

More on BT

More than 66,000 people have used InLinkUK's free Wi-Fi, which boasts speeds up to one gigabit per second making it the UK's fastest free internet service. Over 419,000 free calls have been made using the service too while there have been more than 356,000 sessions on InLink tablets.

BT have further expansion plans for the InLinkUK service with more InLinks expected to be installed across cities throughout the UK over the coming year.

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