Swindon is set to score free Wifi as the council plans to install a £1 million wireless network blanketing the city.

As reported over on TechRadar, the service is the brainchild of a collaboration between the city's council and two private companies - aQovia and Avidity - under the banner of Digital City UK.

The project - dubbed Signal - aims to cover the entire city with free 802.11g WiFi coverage, which will be available to all citizens free of charge - albeit at a restricted speed of 1Mb/s. For those who would prefer their band a little broader, the group has promised to make 20Mb/s connectivity available at a price which Digital City UK claims will undercut the competition significantly. If that wasn't enough, the company also promises to offer a three-month free trial of the higher speed to all residents in order to tempt them into upgrading.

As well as the speed upgrades, the project aims to make back its estimated £1 million implementation costs by offering pay-as-you go access to the city's visitors in much the same way as commercial hotspot services such as BT's OpenZone. However, the group has yet to offer any firm pricing - either on the resident's only 20Mb/s service or on the pay-as-you-go offering - or details about latency, contention, or any download caps or traffic shaping that might be in place.

Councilman Rod Bluh believes that the project will offer the ability for "residents in the borough [to] be able to access the Internet for free, [and also] 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."

The roll-out of the service is expected to go ahead starting in April of next year. Those in the area who would like to register their interest in the service can do so on the official site.

Do you salute Swindon's efforts to be at the forefront of Digital Britain, or could the £1 million be better spent than on offering 1Mb/s Internet connections to residents? Will enough users pay for the upgrade in order for the project to flourish? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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