Tag Archives: WiFi4EU

EU gives final approval to WiFi4EU €120M public Wi-Fi plan

wifi-cellular

The European Parliament gave the final nod to the WiFi4EU project, which will see local authorities in member states bid for a share of a €120 million fund to pay for the installation of free Wi-Fi in public areas.

Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for Digital Economy and Society at the European Commission (EC), described the development as “a concrete step forward for delivering results to all EU citizens”.

Regional authorities are expected to be able to submit applications for a stake of the pot before the year-end.

The money will be awarded to authorities across the economic bloc deemed to be most deserving, in the form of vouchers covering the cost of installing equipment in community areas such as libraries and town squares.

WiFi4EU was announced by the EC in September 2016 and since gone through a lengthy approval process, which also saw the European Council of member states give the green light to the bill.

Following today’s final sign-off from the European Parliament, it will be recorded in the EU’s official journal and passed into law.

High hopes
The announcement comes a day after Broadband Competence Office (BCO) director Jan Droge tipped WiFi4EU to have a significant impact on connectivity in underserved areas when the first round of funds are made available.

Speaking at Broadband World Forum in Berlin, Droge said the programme was: “A new aid mechanism which is quite innovative. It will make connectivity in small public spaces easier”.

The BCO is an EU body set-up to supply advice and support for member states struggling with the technological and logistical aspects of fibre broadband deployment, including securing funding and partnerships with regulators.

Source: Chris Donkin-Mobile World Live

EU Launches WiFi4EU Initiative For Free WiFi Across Europe

wifi-cellular

Digital Single Market: EU negotiators agree on the WiFi4EU initiative

Brussels, 29 May 2017

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached tonight a political agreement on the WiFi4EU initiative and its funding which supports installing free public Wi-Fi hotspots in local communities across the EU: in public squares, piazzas, parks, hospitals and other public spaces.

As stated by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the WiFi4EU initiative will contribute to the vision of having “every European village and every city with free wireless internet ac­cess around the main centres of public life by 2020.”

Vice-President in charge of the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip welcomed tonight’s agreement and said:The Digital Single Market strategy aims to build a fully connected Europe where everyone has access to high-quality digital networks. 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.

The political agreement includes a commitment by the three institutions to ensure that an overall amount of €120 million shall be assigned to fund equipment for public free Wi-Fi services in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities in all Member States. The specific sources of the funding will be finalised in the ongoing legislative discussions on the review of the current Multiannual Financial Framework programme. Local authorities will be able to apply for funding once the system is set up. 

In practice, local public authorities (municipalities or groups of municipalities) wishing to offer Wi-Fi in areas where a similar public or private offer does not yet exist will be able to apply for funding via a simple and non-bureaucratic process. A grant allocated in the form of vouchers will be used to purchase and install state-of-the art equipment, i.e. local wireless access points, while the public authority will cover the running costs of the connection itself. 

Background
Announced by President Juncker in his State of the Union Address in September 2016, the WiFi4EU initiative is part of the ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules including new measures to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost Europe’s competitiveness.
 
The Commission reviewed recently its Digital Single Market strategy – one of the top priorities of the Juncker Commission – taking stock of the progress made, but also calling on co-legislators to swiftly act on all proposals already presented. The EU has been quick to achieve important agreements on the end of roaming charges on 15 June 2017 for all travellers in the EU, on the portability of content which will allow as of early 2018 Europeans to travel with the films, the music, the video games or the e-books they have subscribed to at home or on the release of the 700 MHz band for the development of 5G and new online services. On remaining proposals, the final outcome is now negotiated in the European Parliament and the Council.
Source: European Commission