EU agrees €120m support for public WiFi initiative

European_flag_in_Karlskrona_2011_Wikimedia CommonsThe European Union has agreed to assign €120 million for installing free public WiFi hotspots in local communities across the EU.

The European Parliament, Council and Commission last night reached a political agreement on the WiFi4EU initiative, which will see WiFi hotspots installed in public squares, piazzas, parks, hospitals and other public spaces.

The three institutions have agreed to commit  €120 million to fund equipment for the free WiFi services in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities in all EU member states. The specific sources of the funding will be finalised in the ongoing legislative discussions.

“The Digital Single Market strategy aims to build a fully connected Europe where everyone has access to high-quality digital networks,” said vice-president in charge of the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip.

“The WiFi4EU initiative will improve connectivity in particular where access to the internet is limited. WiFi4EU is a welcome first step, but much more needs to be done to achieve high-speed connectivity across the whole EU territory – such as improving Europe-wide coordination of spectrum and stimulating investments in the high-capacity networks that Europe needs.”

President and head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, first announced the WiFi4EU initiative in September 2016. It is part of an overhaul of EU telecoms rules that are designed to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost Europe’s competitiveness.

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