A scheme to provide a UK-wide wi-fi network has been unveiled. The scheme, the first phase of which is due to be completed by March 2006, will give residents in the UK's cities access to wireless broadband internet from mobile devices such as laptops and PDAs. The first phase will see a rollout in eight of the UK's biggest cities and three London boroughs.

Residents of Birmingham, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford, along with the London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Camden and Islington, will be the first to benefit from the wireless internet coverage.

The networks are being built by European wireless provider the Cloud and will be open to any ISP wanting to offer services. Blanket wireless coverage will be provided in the cities through wi-fi equipment fitted on lampposts and street signs.