BRUSSELS: Negotiators from the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council reached an agreement to launch the WiFi4EU initiative aimed at bringing high-quality wireless internet access to at least 6,000-8,000 local communities. It has a total provisional budget of upto €120m until 2020 and will provide internet access for locals, visitors and tourists in parks, squares, libraries or public buildings.
“This agreement shows that Europe can be practical and useful in citizens’ everyday life”, declared MEP Anne Sander, the EPP Group’s spokeswoman in the report ‘Promotion of Internet connectivity in local communities’.
“This pilot project is the first step towards a gradual reduction of the digital divide in Europe, fostering digital inclusion for all and access to new online services such as e-government or e-health,” the report reads. Sander further said that “the objective is to set up a simple and fast financing mechanism that guarantees a safe and quality connection for at least 3 years, where no alternative free offer is already available.”
“With WiFi4EU, the end of roaming charges in June 2017 and the ongoing negotiations on the new telecommunications code, the European Union is placing the investment in the connectivity of Europeans at the heart of its priorities”, concluded Sander.