Swindon in Wiltshire will become the first town in the UK to offer a free public wireless network to its residents.

According to Swindon Borough Council, the town's 186,000 residents will all be able to connect to the network by April next year.

The council said there would be no line-rental or connection fees, although it will only be available for a limited period of time each day.

The service will also have a limited speed, although residents could pay a subscription fee to increase their speed to up to 20Mbps.

While the council declined to reveal how much this would be, it did say it would be "significantly less" than current broadband packages available in the area.

The £1m project, which will be run by Digital City UK, will see 1,400 secure access points installed on lamp posts throughout the town.

Visitors to the town will also be able to use the service, for a one off-charge.

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

If Signal proves to be successful, it may be rolled out in other areas of the UK.

Broadband speed test

See also: Wi-Fi the solution to broadband for all?