The WiFi4EU funding will be granted in a geographically balanced manner, so that high-speed connections can benefit both residents and visitors of local communities across the EU. It is estimated around 6,000 to 8,000 local communities will be benefiting from the WiFi4EU scheme by 2020.
The WiFi4EU scheme will be open to public sector bodies. However, for the first call for applications the European Commission intends to limit the scope of eligible applicants to municipalities or associations formed by municipalities.
The municipalities that receive a voucher will select the 'centres of public life' where the WiFi4EU hotspots (wireless access points) will be installed, such as parks, town squares, public buildings, public libraries, hospitals, museums or any other public spaces.
Each municipality can only receive one voucher during the life-time of the WiFi4EU initiative.
The WiFi4EU hotspots will be installed in areas where no similar offers of free Wi-Fi connectivity already exist.
The Commission is finalising the necessary administrative steps after the adoption of the WiFi4EU legislation (Regulation (EU) 2017/1953). This includes the amendment to the Connecting Europe Facility work programme which is the basis for funding the initiative, the publication of the website for applicants, etc.
Depending on these necessary steps, the first call will be launched early 2018.
There will be a dedicated website to apply, where a simple registration form can be filled out and the application can be submitted during the opening of the call for applications.
The beneficiaries will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis, while ensuring that all Member States can benefit from a minimum amount of vouchers (a minimum amount of 15 vouchers per country will be awarded under the first call).
The EU will fund the equipment and installation costs of Wi-Fi hotspots, while the beneficiary will pay for the connectivity (internet subscription) and maintenance of the equipment for at least 3 years.
A total of EUR 120 million mainly from the Connecting Europe Facility has been allocated to the WiFi4EU initiative. We expect to be able to support 6000 to 8000 local communities by 2020 from this budget, based on an average value of EUR 15.000 per voucher (the exact amount is still to be determined).
Each beneficiary will contract the supplier(s) of their choice to install the wireless equipment, in accordance with public procurement rules. Similarly, the beneficiary will take a high-speed broadband connectivity subscription for at least 3 years, to deliver a high-quality internet experience to users.
The beneficiary must ensure that the installation is completed and operation commences within 1,5 years after being awarded of the WiFi4EU voucher.
Beneficiaries are responsible for financing the connectivity (internet subscription) and maintenance of the equipment in order to offer free and high-quality Wi-Fi connectivity for their citizens and visitors for at least 3 years.
The wireless connectivity must be provided free of charge and without discriminatory conditions, be easy to access and use the most recent and best equipment available, capable of delivering high-speed connectivity to its users.
Beneficiaries must use the common visual identity to be provided by the Commission and link to the associated online tools.
European citizens will soon benefit from the WiFi4EU initiative which supports installing free public Wi-Fi hotspots in local communities across the EU: in public squares, town halls, parks, libraries, and other public spaces. These are the most frequently asked questions.