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Wi-Fi could come to CCTV, lamp posts in government plans

In a bid to make our city streets more connected, the government wants to put Wi-Fi in lamp posts and CCTV cameras.

In a bid to make our city streets more connected, the government wants to put Wi-Fi hotspots in lamp posts, traffic lights and CCTV cameras.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has plans for the £150million in the government's Urban Broadband Fund, earmarked for creating super-connected cities with 80Mbps Internet connections or faster. Recombu highlights one of the options on the table: wiring up street furniture.

Street furniture is the stuff that's happily standing around minding its own business, like lamp posts, benches, bins, traffic lights, and CCTV cameras. OK, maybe not minding its own business so much as minding everyone else's.

Internet service providers -- the companies that do your broadband, like BT, Virgin Media, Be and the like -- would be allowed to install Wi-Fi gubbins on such items in public places. They would then collect money from users, whether from people paying to log in or from public money.

On top of street furniture, public Wi-Fi hotspots could be added to libraries, museums and other local points of interest, as well as council offices and public transport. The government also has plans to spend some of the urban broadband fund on vouchers for small businesses.

In London, free Wi-Fi is provided in tube stations by Virgin Media, which can be used by anyone on Virgin and some other phone networks including Vodafone and O2.

Meanwhile, heading out of the city and into the lush green hills and rolling dales of our green and pleasant land, the government's rural broadband plans were recently criticised for being a day late and a dollar short -- or more accurately, two years late and £207m short.

What do you think of the government's broadband plans? Is CCTV a reassuring safety measure or the intrusive eye of the Big Brother state? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our always-vigilant Facebook wall.