Library trial puts Wi-Fi hot spots on the books

Brief: Every public library in the country could soon include a Wi-Fi hot spot, if a government trial is a success

The DTI has put its plan to roll out Wi-Fi hot spots to libraries across the UK into action. Speaking at the Mobile Enterprise conference in London's Earls Court on Wednesday, e-commerce minister Stephen Timms said a trial is now running at 10 libraries.

"We want to understand how popular it really is," said Timms, adding that three trial sites are charging for access while the other seven are offering it for free. The idea is provide Wi-Fi access to people in the vicinity of a library, said Timms, rather than just those who are using the PCs inside the premises.

Timms said that if the trial is a success, he would like to see Wi-Fi hot spots available at libraries across the country. "I'm very keen on the idea that every public library should be a Wi-Fi hotspot," he said. "Already 90 per cent have broadband and my department is now working on the idea of extending [the connectivity options]."