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

20 March 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 20 March 2018

The European Commission launched the WiFi4EU web portal on 20 March. It invites municipalities from all over Europe 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.


Who will benefit from the WiFi4EU programme?

EU citizens and visitors who will be able to access free Wi-Fi in public spaces such as parks, squares, public building, libraries, health centres in the EU will benefit from the WiFi4EU project. The Wi-Fi hot spots will be installed by an installation company for which the municipality will pay using the WiFi4EU voucher.

Who can apply for a voucher?

The municipalities (or equivalent local administration) and associations formed by municipalities can apply for the WiFi4EU voucher. The list of entities eligible to apply was agreed with each Member State and will be made available for reference for municipalities or associations to check whether they are eligible to register/apply. 'Associations formed by municipalities' can register multiple municipalities but will be required to separately submit the final application online for each municipality included in their registration. Each voucher is awarded to an individual municipality as the beneficiary.

How to apply for WiFi4EU?

Applications and registrations are done via the dedicated online portal First, the municipalities need to register (starting 20 March) and only later, when the call will be launched, they can apply.

When to apply for a voucher?

On the 15th May the first one of the five calls will be opened. Once the call will be opened, only the registered municipalities will be able to submit their application for a voucher in the portal. The submission can be done by clicking on the apply button. Four other calls will be launched later – all before the end of 2020.

What information is needed to register ahead of the call?

The municipalities are able to register directly on the portal by providing basic information about their municipality. They will need to provide the contact details of a legal representative. Any municipality can apply in their chosen language without needing any intermediary.

Municipalities will NOT be requested to include a technical project or documentation about the Wi-Fi network to be deployed. They will also NOT need a preliminary assessment of costs from a Wi-Fi installation company, to be able to apply for a voucher. 

Can one municipality apply several times?

Each municipality can only benefit from one voucher during the entire duration of the initiative. Therefore, municipalities selected for a voucher in one call cannot apply for any subsequent calls. However, municipalities that applied and did not get a voucher can try again.

How will municipalities be selected for a voucher?

The municipalities need to be quick, the winners will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis based on the date and time of the submission of their application (NOT the one of their registration).

Is there a limit of vouchers per country?

For the first call, the number of vouchers per country should not exceed 8% of the call's budget. Each country will receive a minimum of 15 vouchers if they submit at least 15 applications.

How much money does one voucher represent?

Each voucher is worth €15.000.

What the municipalities can do with the WiFi4EU voucher?

The voucher must be used to pay for the installation of Wi- Fi hotspots in the public spaces, such as train stations, parks, libraries, or any other public spaces. The municipality must ensure that the installation is completed and Wi-Fi hot spot starts working within 18 months after being awarded the voucher. Therefore within this time the municipality can define its project and select a Wi-Fi installation company which can complete the installation.

Where to install the Wi-Fi hotspot?

The municipalities decide themselves on the 'centres of public life' where the WiFi4EU hotspots will be installed. The Wi-Fi hotspots must be installed in the areas where no similar offers of free Wi-Fi connectivity already exist.

Are there any specific conditions for the projects?

Each municipality which gets a voucher will have to contract the Wi-Fi installation company of their choice to install the Wi-Fi hotspots equipment (in accordance with public procurement rules). The Commission will not intervene in the contracting relations of the municipality with the Wi-Fi installation company. Wi-Fi installation company can register on the portal at any time but need to do so at the latest when a municipality has contracted them as an installation company.

Municipalities will also be free to choose their internet provider, which could be the same as the Wi-Fi installation company or not. The high-speed broadband connectivity subscription should deliver a high-quality internet to users and must be subscribed by the municipality for at least 3 years.

What is the minimum internet speed for WiFi4EU?

The Wi-Fi network should provide a high quality internet. The internet speed must be at least 30Mbps. The Commission will remotely monitor the quality of the connectivity.

How can the voucher be redeemed?

To ensure the voucher can be redeemed correctly, the Wi-Fi installation company will need to register on the WiFi4EU portal and provide their details (contact person, contact details, geographical scope of operations and bank account details).

Both the Wi-Fi installation company and the municipality will need to confirm that the local network is installed and operational. Upon verification that the local network is indeed operational (remote monitoring) the payment will be triggered.

The Wi-Fi installation company will then be able to redeem the voucher from the European Commission and any outstanding balance not covered by or above the value of the voucher will be settled by the municipality.

Can the project be broader than what is funded by the voucher?

Municipalities may use the WiFi4EU voucher to partially fund a project of higher value; therefore any equipment and installation costs beyond the value of the voucher would fall under the contract between the Wi-Fi installation company and the municipality.

What is the budget of WiFi4EU?

The total budget of WiFi4EU initiative is €120 million.

How many vouchers will be awarded per call?

The first call will award 1 000 vouchers. The later four calls will have a higher number of vouchers available.

WiFi4EU factsheet

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