The European Commission has launched the WiFi4EU web portal (24 EU languages). The WiFi4EU initiative seeks to provide free Wi-Fi access in public spaces such as parks, squares, public building, libraries and health centres.
Through the portal, municipalities all over Europe are invited to register their details ahead of the first call for projects in mid-May for EU financing to build free public wireless internet hotspots.
Municipalities can use the WiFi4EU vouchers to purchase and install Wi-Fi equipment (wireless access points) in their chosen centres of local public life. Costs for maintaining the network will be covered by the municipality.
In mid-May 2018, the first call will be launched and registered municipalities can apply for the first lot of 1,000 WiFi4EU vouchers. The vouchers will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Ensuring a geographic balance, the Commission will then announce the 1,000 municipalities that will receive funding through the first call. Each participating country will receive at least 15 vouchers.
In the coming two years, four more WiFi4EU calls will be launched.
WiFi4EU-funded networks will be free of charge, free of advertising and free of personal data harvesting. Funding will only be provided to networks that do not duplicate existing free private or public offers with a similar quality in the same public space.
As this EuroparlTV video explains, €120 million will be made available from the EU budget until 2020 to fund WiFi4EU.