Ninety-seven Belgian communes are among 2,800 municipalities to receive a voucher for 15,000 euros each from the EU to install free Wi-Fi in public places, the European Commission disclosed on Friday. The communes were selected on a first-come, first-served basis, with a minimum of 15 beneficiary communes per member State and a maximum of 224.
Of the 589 communes in Belgium, 219 had applied and 44% were selected. The vast majority are in Flanders, while 23 are in Wallonia, and none in Brussels Region or in the German-speaking Community.
The allowances will enable the selected communes to install Wi-Fi antennas in public libraries, museums, parks or squares. These antennas and their maintenance will be free of all charges for three years.
More than 13,000 municipalities had applied for the allowances. Those that have not been selected will be able to reapply at the next three calls for applications, to be launched by the Commission in the coming two years. After that, the facility will be included in the EU’s 2021-2027 budget.