On May 29, 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.
Announced in September 2016 by President Juncker, 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 political agreement reached by the Eu negotiators has the purpose 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.
Under the agreement, 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.