European agreement for thousands of free Internet hotspots by 2020
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    European agreement for thousands of free Internet hotspots by 2020

    © Belga
    Andrus Ansip stresses that the introduction of hotspots is just the beginning with more plans afoot for universal broadband coverage across the EU.
    © Belga

    The European institutions have reached an agreement to install thousands of free wireless Internet access points (hotspots) in European Union town and city centres by 2020. This was announced by the European Commission yesterday evening (Monday).

    The European Commission announced that the new plan, accepted by the European Parliament, the European Council and the Commission, will release €120 million. This will finance public Internet access in 6,000 in 8,000 districts within all member states.

    The Commission for the Single Digital Market, Andrus Ansip, stressed, “This initiative, WiFi4EU, will improve connectivity, in particular where access to the Internet is limited.” He went on, “It comes as a welcome first step, but more is necessary to achieve broadband across the entire European Union.”

    The European Council further explained the position. As part of this initiative, local authorities, libraries and other public bodies can apply for finance to install local wireless Internet connections, by means of a simplified administrative procedure.

    The initiative WiFi4EU was announced by the President of the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his State of the European Union address in September 2016. He had aimed to respond to the growing demand for connectivity, and to give European competitiveness a nudge in the right direction.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times