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Registration opens for free EU wireless hotspots

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Registration opens for free EU wireless hotspots

Wifi 4 eu

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission invited Europe's municipalities Tuesday to register their details for EU financing of free wireless internet hotspots in public spaces, ahead of the first call for projects in mid-May.

The Commission launched the WiFi4EU web portal, with the aim of connecting "every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020," according to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

The WiFi4EU programme offers vouchers worth EUR 15,000 for municipalities to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces, including libraries, museums, public parks, squares.

Municipalities can use the WiFi4EU vouchers to purchase and install Wi-Fi equipment (wireless access points) in their chosen centres of local public life. Costs for maintaining the network will be covered by the municipality.

"By opening the WiFi4EU portal today, we are taking a concrete step towards helping municipalities provide free Wi-Fi," said the Commission's vice-president for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip. At the same time, he strongly encouraged the European Parliament and the 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."

€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.

How to apply for a WiFi4EU voucher?

  • Registration phase: As of 20 March 2018, municipalities should sign up on the portal;
  • 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.

WiFi4EU-funded networks will be free of charge, free of advertising and free of personal data harvesting. 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.

WiFi4EU registration open for EU financing of free 
wireless internet hotspots in public 
spaces - background guide

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