Minister for Communications Denis Naughten TD has today welcomed the launch of the European Commission's WiFi4EU initiative which means public spaces across the country will get free WiFi hotspots. €120million is available to Local Authorities under the Scheme over the next three years.
Over the next three years each Local Authority can apply for 'vouchers' up to the value of €15,000 each, to fund the setup of free WiFi hotspots in town and village centres, libraries, museums, public parks or squares. Local Authorities can apply for up to four (4) vouchers over the course of 3 years under this Scheme.
Welcoming today's announcement by the European Commission Minister Naughten said: "I am delighted to finally see the launch today of WiFi4EU which will bring several new WiFi hotspots to communities across the country. Ireland has worked closely with other Member States in driving this Scheme and bringing it to fruition today. I am encouraging local authorities to avail of this opportunity. Today marks the first call for applications across the EU and Ireland can receive a minimum of 15 'vouchers' each worth €15,000 which will be allocated on a first come first served basis so I am encouraging early applications."
Note for Editors:
Local Authorities have already registered their interest in applying for the Scheme on a registration portal set up by the European Commission. On foot of today's first call for applications, they can now apply for a voucher from among a first lot of 1,000 WiFi4EU vouchers which will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To ensure a geographic balance, each country will receive a minimum of 15 vouchers in the first call. Over the next 2 years there will be 4 more Wifi4EU calls for applications.
More information is available here:
The WiFi4EU Initiative is part of the European Commission's strategy to create a Digital Single Market and is aimed at supporting the development of wireless broadband, including fostering awareness among the general public of the advantages of enjoying high-speed internet connection on the move. The Digital Single Market strategy was adopted on 6 May 2015 and is built on the following three pillars:
- Access: better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe;
- Environment: creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; and
- Economy & Society: maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.
WiFi4EU will give internet access to local residents and visitors throughout the EU in the main centres of community life.
The scheme offers the opportunity for local authorities to apply for a voucher, worth up to €15,000, to fund the setup of free WiFi hotspots in public spaces. Each local authority can apply for up to 4 vouchers over the course of the 3 years of the initiative. The hotspots will rest on existing backhaul provided by public entities.
The initiative is designed to achieve maximum short–term impact by fostering the interest of citizens for internet access services and to facilitate the use of public digital services, including access to digital service infrastructures.
The budget of the WiFi4EU scheme is €120 million from 2018 to 2019, with the intention that all vouchers will be allocated by 2020.