Free WiFi for all is set to hit the EU in 2018 after the European Parliament approved to release 120 million euros in funding for the WiFi4EU project, aiming to provide free WiFi at some 6,000 cities across the Union.
With 582 votes against 98, the European Parliament said the scheme will offer WiFi access “free of charge and without discriminatory conditions”.
The WiFi4EU initiative will offer high-speed Internet access at public services such as libraries, hospitals, public administration offices as well as at outdoor spaces accessible to the general public.
The program will offer grants or financial assistance for the deployment of local wireless access points. System integrators, deployment companies, equipment OEMs, service providers and local governments will be required to make use of these grants wisely and effectively.
Funding will be distributed to 6,000 locations in a “geographically balanced manner” on a “first come, first served” basis. In order to be eligible, public bodies will be required to cover operating costs for at least three years and offer free, easy-to-access and secure connectivity to users.