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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Municipal Wi-Fi: Metro-net

Municipal Wi-Fi: Metro-net | The Economist: "ON A cold and drizzly autumn day, no one would mistake Swindon, a prosperous mid-sized town near Bristol, for northern California. But it does lie on the M4 corridor, a cluster of high-tech firms that includes several names familiar from Silicon Valley. Local employers include Intel, a chipmaker, and Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent, two telecoms firms.

No surprise, then, that the borough wants to be the first in Britain to offer free wireless internet access to all its residents. Other cities have experimented—Bristol, for instance, offers wireless access in the city centre, and Norwich ran a trial between 2006 and 2008—but Swindon reckons it is the first to offer free access throughout the borough. The first phase, covering Highworth, a market town just north of Swindon itself, will be completed in December. The rest is due by April 2010, whereupon Swindonians will be able to stay online as they ride around on buses, lounge in parks or drink in pubs."

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