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#WiFi4EU: MEPs pass EU scheme to support free WIFI in public spaces

| September 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

The European Parliament has voted to spend 25 million on local wireless access points in the EU, free of charge and without discriminatory conditions. The amount could also be increased to 50 million with successful implementation.

The WIFI4EU proposal is part of the EU’s strategy to create a gigabit society by improving internet connectivity using optical fibre and wireless networks. The initiative aims to boost the awareness of the advantages of high speed internet access with the users, by mounting a scheme offering free WIFI connections in spaces where public services are offered, such as public administrations, libraries and hospitals, but also outdoor spaces accessible to the general public. Targeted financial support would be provided in the form of grants and/or financial assistance for the deployment of local wireless access points.

Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT), rapporteur, said:

“The WiFi4EU Initiative was a strong political vision that will soon become a concrete reality throughout the EU, assuring that, regardless of where they live or how much they earn, every European benefits from high quality WiFi connectivity.”

The European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarises some 30 relevant indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states, across five main dimensions: Connectivity, Human Capital, Use of Internet, Integration of Digital Technology, Digital Public Services. It is likely that funding will focus on the those countries which have poor digital access.

The funds will be used in a “geographically balanced manner” distributed to 6,000 communities across member states on a “first come, first served” basis to finance free wireless connections in centres of public life.

Eligibility and conditions

In order to be eligible, public bodies should cover operating costs for at least three years and offer free, easy to access and secure connectivity to users. Also, EU funds can only be used if commercial advertising or the use of personal data for commercial purposes are excluded. Projects duplicating similar free private or public offers in the same area are excluded from this financial support.

Access should be provided in the relevant languages of the member state concerned and, if possible, in other official languages of the EU institutions.

 

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Category: A Frontpage, Economy, EU, European Commission, European Parliament

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