Free WiFi for everyone in numerous public places in the European Union. This is not a vague hope for the future, but a measure that has already been already voted in by a large majority in the European Parliament. The EU program is called “WiFi4EU” and will cover public places like hospitals and municipal offices as well as libraries and public authorities. Member States will be called to set up hotspots absolutely free and without discriminatory restrictions.
Funding has already been allocated for the purpose. The funds will be distributed in a “geographically balanced” way to more than 6,000 municipalities throughout the EU States, on a first come first served basis for requests to fund free wireless connections in public centres, including outdoor spaces accessible to the general public.
To obtain the funds, public authorities will have to cover the operational costs of the network for at least three years and provide users with a free, easy to access and secure connection. EU funds may only be used provided that there is no advertising or use of personal data for commercial purposes.
“The WiFi4EU initiative was a strong political vision that will soon become a reality throughout the EU, and will ensure that every European will have access to a high quality WiFi connection no matter where they live or how much they earn”, commented Portuguese Socialist Carlos Zorrinho, presenting the project. He continued that “this will improve the European gigabit society, making it economically competitive and socially inclusive”. The initiative follows the line taken by the latest measures approved by Brussels, such as removing roaming costs within the EU, which was passed on 15 June this year.