Swindon is set to become the UK’s first town to provide free wireless internet to all its residents.
The council of the Wiltshire town has teamed up with the private sector to install a wifi ‘mesh’ covering the whole of the borough of Swindon. People will be able to access the internet for free, however usage will be limited.
The wifi project, named Signal, will be run by Digital City UK – a company 35 per cent owned by Swindon Borough Council. The company hopes to roll out the technology in other locations across the UK.
Subscribers in Swindon will be given the option of signing up for 20Mb upgrades, which will cost less than services offered by major broadband providers. Visitors will also be able to open a pay-as-you-go account.
The leader of Swindon Borough Council, Rod Bluh, said: “This is a truly groundbreaking partnership which will have real benefits for everyone living in Swindon. Not only will residents in the Borough be able to access the internet for free, the council and its partners will be able to use the technology to provide cutting edge services to the areas or individuals who need them.”
Related services planned by the council include CCTV coverage that can be monitored remotely on a laptop, real-time information on home electricity usage and street-wide air quality monitoring.
The first phase of the free wifi network will be switched on in Highworth in early December, with the remainder due to be completed by the end of April.