British town to offer free wi-fi to all residents

November 17, 2009
A woman watches a YouTube clip of Scottish charity worker Susan Boyle singing at her audition for "Britain's Got Talent". Swindon has become the first place in Britain to offer free wireless Internet access to all its 186,000 residents, in what is thought to be the first such a scheme, officials have said.

Swindon has become the first place in Britain to offer free wireless Internet access to all its 186,000 residents, in what is thought to be the first such scheme, officials said on Tuesday.

Local authorities will set up 1,400 secure access points around town to create a " mesh" offering residents the Internet without having to pay line rental or connection charge.

The one-million-pound project will be funded by a mixture of public and private money, but the council hopes it will eventually turn a profit.

Residents will be limited in their usage of the free service but will be able to sign up to 20Mb upgrades for "significantly less per month" than major broadband competitors, while visitors can use a pay-as-you-go service.

Digital City UK Ltd, which is running the project, is 35-percent owned by the council and hopes to roll out similar wi-fi schemes in other towns.

"This is a truly ground-breaking partnership which will have real benefits for everyone living in Swindon," said Rod Bluh, leader of Swindon Borough Council.

The first phase will be switched on in early December, and the council hopes to complete the whole network by April.

In addition to access to normal websites, residents will also be able to use the wi-fi network -- which will be protected by -- to access council services.

There are also plans to deliver real-time information on home electricity usage and local air quality.

Mustafa Arif, director of aQovia, the council's partner in Digital City UK Ltd, said the scheme was an innovative way to provide revenue and services.

"Digital City's business model is built around subsidising free access with revenues from business and community services that are delivered over our wireless network," he said.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Verizon gives free Wi-Fi to Internet customers

Related Stories

Verizon gives free Wi-Fi to Internet customers

July 27, 2009

(AP) -- Verizon is giving some of its home broadband customers free access to thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots in airports and other public places, taking a page from competitors that already offer wireless Internet access.

Wi-Fi for travelers becomes Web marketing lure

November 10, 2009

(AP) -- Google, Yahoo, eBay and Microsoft, competitors on the Web, all have the same idea for marketing themselves this holiday season: temporarily providing free Wi-Fi access in airports, airplanes and public places.

Annapolis to go wireless

April 24, 2006

The waterside town of Annapolis, Md., will offer free public WiFi hotspots powered by Nortel wireless mesh technology.

Canary Wireless Hotspotter

December 6, 2004

Canary Wireless announces the availability of The Digital Hotspotter device, the first Wi-Fi detection and analysis tool with an LCD display that provides essential network information to Wi-Fi users and technology professionals. ...

Is neighbor's Wi-Fi signal free for me to use?

November 11, 2009

Q. The other day, my Internet service went down as it does from time to time. But this particular time, I needed to check my e-mail for an important reply I was expecting. After some frustrating time passed, I happened to ...

iPass Wi-Fi Network Access in the Sky

August 24, 2004

Connexion by Boeing, a business unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), and iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS) today announced an agreement to deliver iPass enterprise customers secure in-flight Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. Through ...

Recommended for you

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.

What do you get when you cross an airplane with a submarine?

February 15, 2018

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft that is capable of traveling both through the air and under the water – transitioning repeatedly between sky and sea. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.