EU parliament approves 'WiFi4EU' hotspot initiative
origin : Telecompaper
Date : 2017-09-13
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The European Parliament has approved the new ‘WiFi4EU’ initiative to install free Wi-Fi hotspots in public squares, parks, hospitals and other public spaces across the EU. In a statement, the parliament confirmed that the funds provided will need to be used in a “geographically balanced manner” in more than 6,000 communities across member states on a “first come, first served” basis to finance free wireless connections in centres of public life accessible to the general public. In order to be eligible, public bodies need to cover operating costs for at least three years and offer free, easy to access and secure connectivity to users. The parliament added that EU funds can only be used if commercial advertising or the use of personal data for commercial purposes are excluded. Projects duplicating similar free private or public offers in the same area will likewise be excluded from financial support. The WiFi4EU initiative was first announced by EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union Address in September 2016, with the Commission subsequently announcing that an agreement had been reached with the European Parliament and Council to allocate EUR 120 million to fund the scheme. The Italian government has already launched its own public space hotspot project called Wi-Fi Italia to provide free, non-discriminatory access to local Wi-Fi access points but recently reached a deal with the EC to collaborate on the implementation of WiFi4EU.