UK's first free public Wi-Fi to cover Swindon

Swindon is to become the UK's first town to offer free public Wi-Fi, with Swindon Borough Council planning to have all 186,000 local citizens covered by April 2010. Council officials have stated that access will be free, although speed upgrades will also be offered for a fee.

The service which will be called "Signal" will offer free, but limited access, with upgrades to 20Mb available for purchase. Digital City UK, the people behind the £1m project, say that upgrade fees will be "significantly less" than current broadband suppliers.

While other UK towns and cities have trialled free Wi-Fi access schemes, this will be the first time a whole town is going to be covered by free, council-backed access. Around 1,400 secure access points will be fitted throughout Swindon to provide the free wireless Internet access.

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

"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."

According to the BBC, the service will also provide the local council with additional funding. Swindon Borough Council has a 35% share in Digital City UK.

Work will begin on the so-called "Swindon mesh" in December, with a full roll-out expected in April 2010. If successful the scheme could be expanded to other towns and cities across the UK.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft set to announce Internet Explorer 9 plans

Next Story

The Pirate Bay tracker gone for good

24 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Another one who lives in sunny Swindon!

I'm surprised Intel (who are in Swindon too), haven't gotten involved with this. Well, maybe they have, but it's not being announced...

bouncindave said,
Another one who lives in sunny Swindon!

I'm surprised Intel (who are in Swindon too), haven't gotten involved with this. Well, maybe they have, but it's not being announced...

I too am a Swindonian and can tell you Intel are not involved.

The main guys behind it are aQovia specialising in cloud services with businesses being their main goal for revenue.

I can get free Wi-Fi, where I live.

A few people have unsecured wireless hubs.

I hope that Wi-Fi is spread all over England, then I can get rid of my ISP.

leesmithg said,
I can get free Wi-Fi, where I live.

A few people have unsecured wireless hubs.

LOL, that isn't "free Wi-Fi"... That's stealing someone else's... LOL

Internode in Australia already pretty much offer this in Adelaide, and they also span around the whole of Australia but don't completely cover the cities of each state.

offroadaaron said,
Internode in Australia already pretty much offer this in Adelaide, and they also span around the whole of Australia but don't completely cover the cities of each state.


What nonesense. Internode may offer it in select places, like coffee shops or hotels, but they don't cover a whole city, and certainly not even .00001% of Australia (let alone the "whole of Australia").

Internode claim they have 300 locations around Australia, a mere drop in the bucket, hardly anything like what Swindon are doing.

Just asking...

ISP's were to blame in the US for their users using P2P programs in order to download illegal content, which is why they went after individuals. Will the government be blamed in this instance if someone is abusing the system.

Also, any word to restricted sites and/or genres of sites?

Sounds like this is too easy for the goverment to start controlling things by providing it for free.

ccoltmanm said,
Just asking...

ISP's were to blame in the US for their users using P2P programs in order to download illegal content, which is why they went after individuals. Will the government be blamed in this instance if someone is abusing the system.

Also, any word to restricted sites and/or genres of sites?

Sounds like this is too easy for the goverment to start controlling things by providing it for free.

Good point. I hope it doesn't get too bad. In all reality I don't like the government having this much control ever. It breeds temptation... :P

Oh I can see the anti-trust suits coming in masses with the ISP's complaining they can't "compete" with those rates. Bah! Good riddance over-priced ISP's.

Woohoo I live in Swindon.

People take the **** out of Swindon but at least we will be the first with free WiFi access for all!!!!