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Free Wi-Fi: EU Parliament approves million program for 8,000 hotspots

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 | Gadgets

The Europaparlament has approved the EU Commission's plans to build up thousands of WLAN access points. The deputies voted for a corresponding submission on Tuesday in Strasbourg. EU retailers and the EU Parliament had already agreed at the end of May to set up up to 8,000 free public internet access across Europe. Around 120 million euros are planned for this. With an average sum of 15,000 euros, the Wifi4EU program takes over the cost of equipment and installation of WLAN access. The operator is responsible for the actual network access and maintenance for at least three years.
Municipalities and public institutions should now be able to apply directly via an online portal for Internet vouchers with which up to 100 percent of the initial costs are to be covered. They hope that the first thousand vouchers can be allocated by the beginning of 2018, said EU Digital Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

Intensive use desired
Users should be able to connect to the Internet in the future through a uniform login across Europe. Your personal data may not be used for commercial purposes. The aim of the initiative is to set up public hotspots in many different EU countries. To this end, information campaigns are also to be launched.

According to the EU, "the priority is to provide places where no comparable private or public WLAN offer is available". Municipalities are also encouraged to "develop and promote their own digital services, such as e-government, e-government and health services". The hotspots are to be installed "in the centers of public life".
How many German municipalities will benefit from the funding is hard to predict. On the one hand, most libraries already have WLAN access points, on the other hand there are already private hotspots at numerous "public life centers". Also, 15,000 euros are not much money to install "state-of-the-art WLAN technology" in certain municipalities. Especially if there is no fast internet connection at all.
The EU Commission hopes to make intensive use of the accesses. It ranges from 40 to 50 million connections per day, which corresponds to an average of 6,250 connections at 8,000 hotspots. Even in small cities, there may be only a few places where so many WLAN users are registered every day.

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