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Communication & Networks

The EU funds free WLAN hotspots

As part of the project "WiFi4EU" the European Union is now making available 1,000 vouchers with a value of EUR 15,000 each. Cities and municipalities in the Member States are to use the money to set up public WLAN hotspots.

09 Apr. 2018 Roland Freist
Source: European Commission
Source: European Commission

Cities and municipalities can register on the project website from 15 May. Vouchers are available with a value of EUR 15,000 each for the first 1,000 registrations, with which WLAN hotspots are to be set up in public spaces such as libraries or museums, in parks, or in central squares. The aim is to equip every village and town in the EU with free Internet access via WLAN by 2020.

As part of the initiative each EU Member State will be granted at least 15 vouchers. Later there will be four further rounds in which cities and municipalities will be able to apply for grant funds. In total, EUR 120 million is available in the EU budget to put towards the hardware fittings for free public WLAN services in the Member States, as well as in Norway and Iceland.

In Germany there are various initiatives at local and state level that also promote comprehensive public WLAN development. These include, for example, BayernWLAN or Free WiFi Berlin . However, the Berlin Taxpayers Association recently criticized the funding with the justification that mobile data services are in any case available all over the city via the mobile phone networks. They see no reason why taxpayers should pay for data use by individuals.

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