EU announces plans for free Europe wide WiFi network

The main institutions of the European Union have agreed a plan to offer free Wi-Fi connectivity to public spaces such as parks, squares, public buildings, and hospitals all over Europe. The European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached an agreement regarding the decision to fund the WiFi4EU project. The project will provide “every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020”. A budget of €120 million has been allocated to pay for the setup and operating costs of the project. The EU expects between 6,000 and 8,000 regions will be offered the chance to take part. They will receive funding to buy, install and maintain the Wi-Fi for three years while cities and towns will have to use their own funds for internet services. WiFi will only be made available in areas where a similar free public or private Wi-Fi network is not currently available. Andrus Ansip, the vice president in charge of the Digital Single Market, praised the agreement between the Parliament, Council and Commission saying:    “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.”
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