Funding has been secured to introduce free Wifi hotspots to public spaces in Ireland.

The EU is making €120 million available for local authorities over the next three years as part of the Wifi4EU scheme. Local authorities can apply for vouchers worth €15,000 to provide free public wifi in town centres, parks, libraries and museums.

On 7 November, the European Commission will launch a call for applications for the scheme called ‘WiFi4EU’. The call, which is open to municipalities or groups of municipalities in the EU, will be open until 5pm on 9 November 2018.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said: “€120 million will available for up to 8,000 municipalities across the EU by 2020. I would encourage Local Authorities around Ireland to get on board with this initiative which means more people will have access to free wifi. This is another great initiative from the EU which aims to improve access to the internet for citizens.”

The application procedure is simple and fully online. Once registered in the dedicated WiFi4EU portal, municipalities will be able to apply online for the €15,000 WiFi4EU scheme voucher with just one click. Municipalities that have not registered and wish to apply for a voucher, can still register on the portal until the start of the call on 7 November.

With the voucher, the municipality will be able to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot in public spaces, including town halls, public libraries, museums, public parks or squares. The Commission is selecting projects on a “first-come, first-served” basis. In the upcoming call, the first 2,800 municipalities will get a WiFi4EU voucher, with each EU Member State being guaranteed to receive at least 15 vouchers. In the coming two years, three more WiFi4EU calls will be launched, approximately one every six months.

WiFi4EU-funded networks will be free of charge, free of advertising and free of personal data harvesting. Funding will be provided for networks that do not duplicate existing free private or public offers of a similar quality.

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