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14 More UK Municipalities Win EU Funds to Deploy FREE WiFi Networks

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 (8:37 am) - Score 932
wifi hotspot free internet

The European Commission has recently confirmed the winners from their second call up of applications for the €120m WiFi4EU initiative, which includes 14 municipalities in the United Kingdom that should now receive vouchers worth up to €15K (£13.2K) to help them install FREE public WiFi wireless broadband hotspots by 2020.

The scheme originally aimed to equip “every European village and city with free WiFi internet access” by 2020. Under this approach municipalities can harness 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 be covered by the local authority.

The funding is ultimately expected to help support free public Wi-Fi deployments in nearly 9,000 municipalities across all EU Member States, as well as Norway and Iceland. The vouchers themselves are distributed on a “first-come, first-served basis” and each participating country will receive at least 15 vouchers.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said:

“We are pleased to see that the response from municipalities to this second call has been overwhelmingly positive with more than 10,000 applications. We will continue connecting Europeans, enabling them to enjoy the benefits of the Digital Single Market.”

In the first round, which was announced at the end of 2018, some 2,800 municipalities were chosen (estimated budget of €42m) and 15 locations in the United Kingdom were handed vouchers (here). By comparison this second call for applications has resulted in 3,400 municipalities (out of 10,000 applications) being awarded with funding (estimated budget of €51m) and 14 are in the UK (total of 29 so far).

The 14 UK Winners (Municipalities) – WiFi4EU
Angus
Bexley
Blackburn with Darwen
Blackpool
Braintree
Coventry
East Northamptonshire
East Riding of Yorkshire
Falkirk
Fife
Mid and East Antrim
Stirling
Suffolk Coastal
Wigan

The programme has not finished and two more calls for applications are expected to be conducted by the end of 2020, including one later this year. We get the impression that many local authorities may not be taking full advantage of this as our allocation is but a fraction of what similar sized countries have been awarded. This may be down to issues of Brexit, a lack of awareness or simply the fact that public WiFi is already quite common across the UK.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Alex

    Yeah but what has the EU ever done for us? *sticks fingers in ears*

  2. Avatar No1_Dave

    Q: Where does the EU get their money from?
    A: Member states

    The UK being a net contributor(2nd or 3rd highest) to the EU budget, these “EU funds” are actually all British tax payer money, taken from us in the first place and then the EU so kindly give “some” of it back to us, and then they claim the credit and stick all the plaques/signs all other the place saying “paid for by the EU”, and people actually believe it?! shocking really.

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