High demand for EU vouchers for WiFI hotspots in public spaces
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
The European Commission is launching a call for applications for the scheme WiFi4EU. The call opens on 7 November at 13:00 (CET) and will be open only until 9 November afternoon. Under the call, municipalities in EU member states can apply on-line for a voucher worth €15,000 to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot in public spaces, including town halls, public libraries, museums, public parks or squares. The hotspots are intended for digital public services such as eGovernment, eHealth, and eTourism.
In total €120 million will be available for up to 8,000 municipalities until 2020. The Commission is selecting projects on a “first-come, first-served” basis. In the upcoming call, the first 2,800 municipalities will get a WiFi4EU voucher, with each EU member state being guaranteed to receive at least 15 vouchers.
So far (6 November), 338 municipalities or more than half of all municipalities in Belgium have registered for the call, well above the European average of 21 %.
WiFi4EU-funded networks will be free of charge, free of advertising and free of personal data harvesting. Funding will be provided for networks that do not duplicate existing free private or public offers of a similar quality.
The Commission explains that the municipality must ensure that the installation is completed and the Wi-Fi hot spot starts working within 18 months after being awarded the voucher. Municipalities need to ensure that internet access is guaranteed for at least 3 years.