A new project by the European Union (EU) will deploy 6000 to 8000 new public wifi hotspots in local communities around the EU. The project, called the WIFI4EU initiative, is headed by 3 major EU institutions. The 3 institutions are the European Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament. Commission President Jean-Claud Juncker explained that the goal was to realize the vision of “every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020.” This means free, public, internet access in public squares, piazzas, hospitals, and other public areas. This also means increased online privacy and security concerns for the internet users at these locations.
Individual towns in the EU will be able to apply to receive a chunk of the funds and build out their public wifi infrastructure. The EU promises that this process will be simple and “non-bureaucratic.” The proposed plan, which has received preliminary support, will see these public wifi hotspots installed by the end of the current budgetary period in 2020.
Online connectivity in the EU continues to grow along
The EU is doing all it can to increase connectivity throughout its jurisdiction. Coming later in June, data roaming charges will be dropped around the EU. Additionally, there are even plans to make sure that the EU is able to end geographical restrictions surrounding media licensing between the borders of EU member states.
Andrus Ansip, Commission VP in charge at the Digital Single Market, said that the deal was just the beginning, but emphasized that more needed to be done before the goal of full connectivity is reached:
“The Digital Single Market strategy aims to build a fully connected Europe where everyone has access to high-quality digital networks. The WiFi4EU initiative will improve connectivity in particular where access to the internet is limited. WiFi4EU is a welcome first step, but much more needs to be done to achieve high-speed connectivity across the whole EU territory – such as improving Europe-wide coordination of spectrum and stimulating investments in the high-capacity networks that Europe needs.”