The European Parliament has on Tuesday approved a resolution that creates a financial scheme for local wireless access points in the EU, free of charge and without discriminatory conditions.
The budget of the WiFi4EU scheme is EUR 120 million between 2017-2019. It will support the installation of state-of-the-art Wi-Fi equipment in the centres of community life, such as parks, squares, public building, libraries, health centres, and museums.
The funds will be used in a "geographically balanced manner" in more than 6,000 communities across member states on a "first come, first served" basis to finance free wireless connections in centres of public life, including outdoor spaces accessible to the general public (libraries, public administrations, hospitals etc., the press department of the EP said in statement today.
Eligibility and conditions
The WiFi4EU scheme will be open to public sector bodies - typically local municipalities, libraries, health centres, etc. It will fund the equipment and installation costs (internet access points), while the beneficiary will pay for the connectivity (internet subscription) and maintenance in good order of the equipment for at least three years.
The local authorities will be encouraged to develop and promote their own digital services in areas such as e-government, e-health and e-tourism through a dedicated app.
Also, EU funds can only be used if commercial advertising or the use of personal data for commercial purposes are excluded. Projects duplicating similar free private or public offers in the same area are excluded from this financial support.
Access should be provided in the relevant languages of the member state concerned and, if possible, in other official languages of the EU institutions.
The resolution was approved with 582 votes to 98 against, with nine abstentions.