EU announces €120m wi-fi pot

18 Sep 17

A €120m financial scheme for wireless internet access in public spaces across the EU will be launched, the European Parliament has announced. 

MEPs passed the EU scheme with 582 votes to 98 against, with nine abstentions.

The WiFi4EU scheme, expected to launch towards the end of 2017 or early 2018, has a €120m budget between 2017 and 2019 to install 'state of the art' wi-fi in places such as libraries, health centres and local municipalities across Europe. 

The scheme, announced last Wednesday, will provide wi-fi, free of charge and without discriminatory conditions, in more than 6,000 communities across EU member states.

To be eligible for the “first come, first served” finance for the connection, public bodies have to cover operating costs for at least three years and offer connectivity that is easy to access, secure and free of charge. The cost of equipment and installation costs will be provided by the scheme.

The EU funds can only be used if commercial advertising, or the use of personal data for commercial purposes, are excluded and projects duplicating similar private or public offers in the areas will not be eligible for the financial support, the European parliament said in a press release.  

Rapporteur Carlos Zorrinho, from the Group of the Progressive Alliances of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said: “The WIFI4EU Initiative was a strong political vision that will soon become a concrete reality throughout the EU, assuring that, regardless of where they live or how much they earn, every European benefits from high quality wifi connectivity.”

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