European union agrees to fund free wifi in public areas

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Funding has been secured to introduce free Wifi hotspots to public spaces across the country.

The EU is making €120 million available for European local authorities over the next three years as part of the Wifi4EU scheme. Local authorities were invited to apply for vouchers worth € 15,000 to provide free public WiFi in town centres, parks, libraries and museums.

Ireland has been allocated at least 15 vouchers in this round of funding, according to Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune. There have been 105 applications for the funding from local authorities here.

“There was a lot of interest in this scheme from around Europe. €120 million will be available for up to 8,000 local authorities across the EU by 2020,” she said.

Wifi4EU-funded networks will be free of charge, advertising and personal data harvesting.

“The beneficiaries will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Every participating country is guaranteed a minimum of 15 vouchers and can potentially win a maximum of 224 vouchers,” Ms Clune added.

“With the voucher, the local authority will be able to set up a WiFi hotspot in public spaces, including town halls, public libraries, museums, public parks or squares.”

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