Menu
European Union plans to offer free Wi-Fi to all

European Union plans to offer free Wi-Fi to all

But the EU's €120 million budget for the project won't stretch far

Free Wi-Fi for all: That was one of the proposals to come out of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's annual State of the European Union address on Wednesday.

The project, WIFI4EU (Wi-Fi for you), aims to put free Wi-Fi hotspots open to all EU citizens in parks, squares, libraries and other public buildings.

The Commission will provide €120 million (US$135 million) through 2019 to subsidize the purchase and installation of Wi-Fi hotspots in 6,000 or more locations, but the provision of bandwidth and ongoing maintenance will be left to the local community.

The hotspots will be open to all EU citizens -- although given the budget, it's unlikely many of them will be able to get a signal without a long walk.

If your local park or library already offers a paid Wi-Fi service, then the EU subsidy isn't going to change anything Projects that compete with a similar, existing private or public Wi-Fi offering will not be funded, as WIFI4EU is intended to bring Internet access to previously unserved areas. 

Nevertheless, the Commission clearly foresees a lot of pent-up demand for the service in heavily trafficked areas: It hopes each subsidized hotspots will serve thousands of connections daily. If one connection represents one user, its goal is to connect almost one-tenth of the EU's population each day.

Free Wi-Fi is not the Commission's only plan to get more Europeans on the Internet. In a proposed reform of its telecommunications regulations, it also envisages making affordable broadband Internet access part of the universal service obligation for telecommunications operators. It will be up to national governments to ensure people with low incomes or special needs can access such services, perhaps by offering vouchers to cover the cost or by requiring carriers to provide special tariff options.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar with a bumper crowd of partners, distributors and vendors descending on The Pantry at Park Hyatt in Auckland to kick-start 2021.

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland
The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Show Comments