€120m funding will be used to provide free WiFi internet connections across 8,000 EU municipalities without coverage
The internet is something most of us take for granted and yet there are areas across Europe with no connection. In a bid to provide universal coverage three European Union institutes have come together to support funding for the WiFi4EU scheme.
The decision means by 2020 up to 8,000 municipalities across the EU without internet will be hooked up to the web.
The funding will see €120m set aside to help with the task. The money will come from the €1tr EU budget, which runs from 2014-2020.
In order to gain funding, towns without wireless internet connections will have to apply for a share of the pot.
The Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, and the European Commission will pull funding for the initiative from the seven-year EU budget. A technical review into how and where this will come from will need to be undertaken as the EU budget cannot be increased, but funds can be shifted.
Public providers can apply
The WiFi4EU scheme will be available to public providers such as local municipalities, libraries, and health centres. Funding will be used to buy equipment and cover installation costs. The local provider will pay for connectivity such as internet subscription and the maintenance of the equipment.
Furthermore, encouragement will be given to local authorities to develop their own digital services for government, health, and tourism.