The second WiFi4EU call for applications took place from 4 to 5 April 2019. During this call, more than 10,000 municipalities across Europe have applied for a WiFi4EU voucher. Following an evaluation of the applications, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), the Commission's executive agency in charge of implementing the WiFi4EU programme, has now published the list of winning municipalities. Within the next week, each applicant will receive an individual notification of the results of the call. Once notified, the winning municipalities will need to sign a Grant Agreement, which is available on the WiFi4EU Portal, to receive the voucher worth EUR 15,000.
The latest call has a budget of EUR 51 million, and 3,400 municipalities will each receive a voucher to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. For the whole initiative, the Commission has made available additional budget on top of the initial €120 million assigned, increasing the total number of vouchers available to nearly 9,000. While based on a “first-come, first-served” principle, all participating countries were nevertheless guaranteed a minimum of 15 vouchers, provided they had sufficient numbers of applicants. In light of the huge interest in the initiative, for this call the maximum number of vouchers per participant State has been raised to 510.
The demand largely exceeded the number of vouchers that were available in this call. Municipalities from all 30 participating countries (EU Member States, Norway and Iceland) applied for a voucher. Spain, Italy, and Germany reached the maximum number of vouchers available to a single Member State. Applicants proved very receptive to the first-come first-served principle of distribution, with almost 98% of available vouchers claimed in the first 60 seconds of the call launch.
This remarkable result matches the success of the previous call. The first WiFi4EU call, which took place in November 2018, granted 2,800 vouchers to municipalities from all across Europe. Considering the results of the two calls, 6,200 municipalities have been granted a voucher under the WiFi4EU programme. In countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovenia, more than 50% of their municipalities have been beneficiaries of the two first WiFi4EU calls, and the number will keep on growing with remaining calls this year and in 2020.
Unsuccessful municipalities in this call are eligible apply again for the remaining calls, the first of which will take place later this year. We welcome you all to join the WiFi4EU Community, where you can join registered municipalities, winners of the first call and Wi-Fi installation companies to give feedback on the initiative, engage with municipalities from all over Europe and be updated on the WiFi4EU programme.