The European Commission has launched the WiFi4EU web portal today.
“This means that areas around Ireland and Europe are invited to register their details ahead of the first call for projects in mid-May, for the chance to benefit from EU financing to build free public wireless internet hotspots,” said Brian Hayes MEP.
The WiFi4EU programme offers vouchers worth €15,000 for municipalities to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces, including libraries, museums, public parks and squares.
“This is part of an EU initiative which aims to connect every European city and village with free wireless internet access around the main cities of public life by 2020,” the MEP explained, adding that:
“€120 million is available from the EU budget until 2020 to fund equipment for public free Wi-Fi services in up to 8,000 municipalities in all Member States as well as Norway and Iceland.
“While this is important progress, I am mindful that the European Parliament and Council must conclude work on the proposed telecoms code to ensure high-speed connectivity across the whole of the EU, which is a big issue for many living in more rural parts of Ireland.
“WiFi4EU-funded networks will be free of charge, free of advertising and free of personal data harvesting, which is particularly important now as we are dealing with more incidences of breaches of data protection. Funding will only be provided to networks that do not duplicate existing free private or public offers with a similar quality in the same public space”.
How to apply for a WiFi4EU voucher?
- Registration phase: As of 20 March 2018, municipalities should sign up on the www.WiFi4EU.euportal;
- Application phase: In mid-May 2018, the first call will be launched and registered municipalities can apply for a first lot of 1,000 WiFi4EU vouchers (€15,000 each). The vouchers will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis;
- Assignment phase: ensuring a geographic balance, the Commission will announce the 1,000 municipalities that will receive funding through the first call. Each participating country will receive at least 15 vouchers.
- In the coming two years, four more WiFi4EU calls will be launched.