The BBC's online services are to be available free of charge at over 7000 The Cloud Wi-Fi hotspots around the UK.

The news website, programme sites and downloads of TV shows via the iPlayer will be able to be accessed for free via a Wi-Fi-enabled device without paying a log-in or subscription fee.

Because of platform restrictions iPlayer will only be available to Windows XP laptop users but the BBC said not only will iPlayer be compatible with Linux and Mac OS by the end of the year but that the plan is to let users download programmes over Wi-Fi on to portable devices, such as the Sony PSP and Nokia 95.

The BBC has signed a deal with Adobe to provide Flash video for all of the BBC's video services, including a streaming version of its iPlayer.

Ashley Highfield, the BBC's director of Future Media and Technology said the plan was to widen the reach of BBC content.