The WiFi4EU project is destined to the EU citizens and visitors who will be able to access free Wi-Fi in public spaces such as parks, squares, public building, libraries, health centres in the EU. The Wi-Fi hot spots can be installed by the municipality and WiFi installation company using the voucher from the EU.
The WiFi4EU scheme will be open to the public sector bodies from the EU Member States and participating EEA countries, Norway and Iceland. For the first call for applications, only the municipalities (or equivalent local administration) and associations formed by municipalities can apply on behalf of the municipalities. The list of entities eligible to apply was agreed with each Member State and will be made available for reference for municipalities or associations to check whether they are eligible to register/apply.
'Associations formed by municipalities' can register multiple municipalities but will be required to separately submit the final application online for each municipality included in their registration. Each voucher is awarded to an individual municipality as the beneficiary.
Each municipality can only benefit one voucher during the entire duration of the initiative. Therefore, municipalities selected for a voucher in one call cannot apply for any subsequent calls while municipalities that applied and did not get a voucher can try again if there is a subsequent call.
First, there will be a dedicated portal (available in all EU languages) where municipalities will be able to register ahead of the call by filling out a simple registration form. To register a municipality will need an EU login account.
The WiFi4EU web portal will also provide suppliers with the opportunity to register and indicate where (i.e. in which countries and regions) they can provide their services such that beneficiaries can consult this list for their own procurement purposes.
Second, municipalities should apply (by clicking the submit button) after the call is opened.
The municipalities will be able to register directly on the portal by providing basic information about their municipality. They will need to provide the contact details of a legal representative.
The registration process will be simple so that any municipality can apply in their chosen language without needing any intermediary.
Municipalities will NOT be requested to include a technical project or documentation about the Wi-Fi network to be deployed. They will also NOT need a preliminary assessment of costs from a supplier, to be able to apply for the voucher.
The portal for registration will be opened in March. The registration will last for 6-8 weeks to allow sufficient time for municipalities to register ahead of the opening of the call.
Once the call will be opened, the registered municipalities will be able to submit an application for a voucher in the same portal. The submission can be done by clicking on the supply button.
The date of the call will be announced at the time of the opening of the portal for registrations, where a countdown clock will be available.
The municipalities will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis (based on the date and time of the submission of their application, NOT the one of their registration). A minimum of 15 vouchers per country will be awarded under the first call. The number of vouchers per country should not exceed 8% of the first call's budget.
One voucher is EUR 15.000.
The beneficiary must ensure that the installation is completed and Wi-Fi hot spot starts working within 1.5 years after being awarded the voucher. Therefore within this time the beneficiary can define its project and select a Wi-Fi installation company which can complete the installation.
Each beneficiary will contract the supplier(s) of their choice to install the wireless equipment (in accordance with public procurement rules). The Commission will not intervene in the contracting relations of the beneficiary with their supplier. Suppliers can register on the portal at any time but need to do so at the latest when a beneficiary has contracted them as a supplier.
Beneficiaries will select the 'centres of public life' where the WiFi4EU hotspots will be installed. The Wi-Fi hotspots will be installed in the areas where no similar offers of free Wi-Fi connectivity already exist.
Beneficiaries will also be free to choose their internet provider, which could be the same as the Wi-Fi supplier/installation company or not. The high-speed broadband connectivity subscription should deliver a high-quality internet to users and must be subscribed by the beneficiary for at least 3 years.
The EU will fund the equipment and installation costs of Wi-Fi hotspots up to the value of the voucher, while the beneficiary is responsible for paying for the connectivity (internet subscription), maintenance and operation of the equipment for at least 3 years.
Any costs associated with the tendering process (including the drawing up of the terms of reference), will not be covered by the voucher. Any costs related with setting up the necessary backhaul for the internet connectivity will not be covered by the voucher. Any costs for additional equipment not related specifically to the Wi-Fi hotspots (charging stations, street furniture etc.) will not be covered by the voucher.
To ensure the voucher can be redeemed correctly, the supplier will need to register on the WiFi4EU portal and provide their details (contact person, contact details, geographical scope of operations and bank account details).
Both the supplier and the beneficiary will need to confirm that the local network is installed and operational. Upon verification that the local network is indeed operational (remote monitoring) the payment will be triggered.
The supplier will then be able to redeem the voucher from the European Commission and any outstanding balance not covered by or above the value of the voucher will be settled by the beneficiary.
The Wi-Fi hot spot must be installed using the voucher. The municipalities or other public bodies are responsible for financing internet subscription and maintenance of the equipment in order to offer free and high-quality Wi-Fi for their citizens and visitors for at least 3 years.
Beneficiaries must use the common visual identity to be provided by the Commission and link to the associated online tools.
Beneficiaries may use the WiFi4EU voucher to partially fund a project of higher value; therefore any equipment and installation costs beyond the value of the voucher would fall under the contract between the supplier and the beneficiary.