Public areas such as libraries, hospitals, parks, museums, train stations and bus terminals are to receive a grant from the EU to set up free WiFi. The initiative boasts an impressive budget of €120 million, which will be allocated to local communities on a first come, first served basis. It will operate on a simple voucher scheme and WiFi & service providers will be brought in to install the connectivity for the local authorities.
“Everyone benefiting from connectivity means that it should not matter where you live or how much you earn. So we propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020.”
Jean-Claude Juncker - State of the Union speech, September 2016
The local authorities will be encouraged to develop and promote their own digital services in areas such as e-government, e-health and e-tourism through a dedicated app.
While initial equipment and installation costs are covered under the WiFi4EU budget, ongoing subscription and maintenance costs are to be paid by EU public authorities.
Additionally, the initiative is also open to existing public networks – the local authorities can join the WiFi4EU hotspots, if they wish to do so. This will provide also the existing public networks a unified authentication system for the end-users so that, after their first connection, they will be able to connect automatically to the same hotspot or to any other WiFi4EU hotspot in Europe.
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