It’s Christmas before time for the people of Swindon. The city council of this city in the south of England has decided to offer their Internet connection to its almost 200,000 inhabitants. It is not a question of delivering a box to each household, but of opening a Wi-Fi network to which each of them can connect without paying a single penny.
This initiative is not the work of a benevolent ISP, but rather that of the local authorities who participated in the creation of a business for the occasion. Combining private and public interests (the city holds 35% of the capital), Digital City UK will be responsible for deploying its network called “Signal” from next month for delivery in April according to the work schedule.
The limits of free
This free service, however, contains certain limits. Like a 3G subscription, the municipality should soon define what it means by “limited use”, in other words the number of megabytes available per user. Beyond that, a classic subscription system will be offered, but Digital City UK promises it significantly cheaper than British ISPs.
As for the financing of this project, estimated at 1.1 million euros, it should be provided by the surplus of subscriptions but also by the CCTV surveillance service, very popular across the Channel. In any case, the model imagines Swindon caused a stir in the British press. So much so that other cities say they are ready to follow the example of Digital City UK.