Londoners may be given access to free Wi-Fi connections in public areas around the capital. Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate running for Mayor of London, wants to roll out Wi-Fi hotspots in the “10 main inner London boroughs.”

The Wi-Fi sessions, which will be restricted to speeds of 256Kbps to ensuring they don’t compete with commercial Wi-Fi providers, will be restricted to an hour at a time, making sure the networks won’t get clogged up by music and movie downloads.

“If elected, I pledge to work with the private sector and local boroughs to make London the first Wi-Fi capital in the world,” he said.

“Access to the Internet is access to knowledge, jobs and education and I will do all I can as Mayor to close the gap between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’,” added Paddick.

The scheme, which is expected to cost in the region of UK$4.8 million will then be rolled out across London if deemed successful.

If elected Paddick also intends to work with the voluntary and private sector to help people on low incomes to have access to a computer.

“I will also work with computer recycling charities such as Computer Aid, private sector companies, job centres and local authorities to help those who do not currently have access to a computer.”

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