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EU Opens €120m Support Scheme to Build Free Public WiFi Networks

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 (4:49 pm) - Score 618
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The European Commission has begun inviting municipalities from all over Europe (including the UK) to register their details for the chance to secure vouchers worth £13k under the €120m (£104m) WiFi4EU initiative, which aims to equip “every European village and city with free WiFi internet access” by 2020.

Municipalities can use the WiFi4EU vouchers to purchase and install Wi-Fi equipment (wireless access points) in their chosen centres of local public life, although any on-going costs for maintaining the network must still be covered by the municipality.

Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market, said:

“By opening the WiFi4EU portal today, we are taking a concrete step towards helping municipalities provide free Wi-Fi. While this is important progress, I also strongly encourage the European Parliament and Council to conclude work on the proposed telecoms code to ensure high-speed connectivity across the whole of the EU.

This includes Europe-wide coordination of spectrum, and forcefully stimulating investments in the high-capacity networks that Europe needs.”

The move is expected to help fund equipment for free public Wi-Fi services in up to 8,000 municipalities across all Member States, as well as Norway and Iceland. Any municipalities with an interest should register via www.WiFi4EU.eu and the first call-up from this will take place in mid-May 2018; those who have registered will then be able to apply via the first lot of 1,000 vouchers.

The vouchers will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and each participating country will receive at least 15 vouchers. Apparently the funding will only be provided to networks that do not duplicate existing free private or public WiFi offers with a similar quality in the same public space.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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