Hungary wins the maximum amount of EU vouchers to set up free Wi-Fi hotspots
By the closure of the application period in the third WiFi4EU call for applications from 19 to 20 September 2019, the Commission had received over 11,000 applications from all participating countries out of the 25,000 registered municipalities. Following an evaluation of the applications, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), the Commission's executive agency in charge of implementing the WiFi4EU programme, has now published the list of winning municipalities.
Within the next week, each applicant will receive an individual notification of the results of the call. Once notified, the winning municipalities will need to sign a Grant Agreement, which is available on the WiFi4EU Portal, to receive the voucher worth EUR 15,000.
The latest call has a budget of EUR 26.7 million, and 1,780 municipalities will each receive a voucher to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces.
While based on a “first-come, first-served” principle, all participating countries were nevertheless guaranteed a minimum of 15 vouchers, provided they had sufficient numbers of applicants. For this call, the maximum amount available for each participating country is 142 vouchers, 8% of the budget of the call.
The demand largely exceeded the number of vouchers that were available in this call. Municipalities from all 30 participating countries (EU Member States, Norway and Iceland) applied for a voucher. Seven countries (Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Romania, Austria and Hungary) reached the maximum number of vouchers available to a single Member State.
Applicants proved very receptive to the first-come first-served principle of distribution, with 2000 applications received in the first 2 seconds of the call launch.
Unsuccessful municipalities in this call are eligible to apply again for the remaining call next year.
The WiFi4EU initiative promotes free access to Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens in public spaces including parks, squares, public buildings, libraries, health centres and museums in municipalities throughout Europe.
The WiFi4EU initiative provides municipalities with the opportunity to apply for vouchers to the value EUR 15 000. The vouchers are to be used to install Wi-Fi equipment in public spaces within the municipality that are not already equipped with a free Wi-Fi hotspot.