Manchester has become the first city in North West England to benefit from free InLink services, which already have over 200,000 subscribers across the UK. InLinks offer the UK’s fastest free public wi-fi plus a range of digital services, including local council and community information.
Manchester joins London, Southampton, Leeds, Glasgow, Swansea, Sheffield, Gateshead and Newcastle as the latest city to benefit from the new service.
Home to the Manchester Arena, one of the biggest indoor arenas in the world, and the world’s oldest library, Manchester is a key location for visitors and tourists. This new advertising platform in the heart of the city will help cement Manchester as one of the UK’s most digitally connected cities.
The first 17 InLinks being installed in central Manchester provide ultrafast wi-fi speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps), the fastest free public wi-fi service available in the UK. The InLinks also provide free phone calls to UK landlines and mobiles, rapid mobile device charging, the BT Phone Book app, as well as easy access to charity helplines.
Not only do 77% of consumers agree InLinks have a positive impact on their communities, our research has shown that 75% of them feel more positively about brands that sponsor services such as Wi-Fi, charging locations and travel information. Furthermore, our recent consumer study proved through eye-tracking research that InLinks are up to 28% more effective than other similar products on the market. Their detailed design also means more space on pavements, as on average, each InLink replaces two BT payphones – with 34 set to be removed in Manchester.
Manchester City Council and the local community are also benefiting from the digital displays on the InLinks that display real-time information, including the weather forecast and other local information. Each InLink provides more than 1,000 hours of local messaging a year, acting as a community notice board for the local area. These services are provided to the community at no public cost, as the project is funded by advertising revenue from the premium brands who choose InLinks.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council welcomes the news: “I am pleased that Manchester is the first city in the North West to welcome the InLinks. We have always been a city with an eye for opportunity and believe the range of free services the InLinks provide is a significant contribution to the Greater Manchester Digital Strategy. As a city, we plan to continue to encourage and support digital innovation which strengthens businesses and investment.”
Matt Bird, general manager for InLinkUK, added: “Our network is currently in a period of rapid growth and we’re excited that Manchester has joined us on this journey to creating smart communities, supporting their digital innovation ambitions. With Manchester being such a core hub for workers, tourists and residents alike, the range of free digital services provided by the InLinks is a great asset.”
The UK rollout has so far seen more than 300 InLinks installed in eight UK cities, most recently in Portsmouth, with hundreds more to be installed in major towns and cities across the UK. Since the first InLink was installed in June last year, more than 200,000 people have subscribed to the service’s free wi-fi, using enough data to download the equivalent of over 27 million songs. The InLinks have also saved people more than £660,000 in free calls, with 50,000 calls being made on average every week across the UK.