The initiative will be funded from the current €1 trillion EU budget, which runs from 2014 to 2020. Towns will have to apply to get the funds “in principle on a first-come, first-served basis,” although some geographical balance between the EU’s 28 member states will be sought, said the Maltese EU Presidency, which brokered the agreement.
The scheme will be open to any local entity with a public mission – typically local municipalities but also libraries or health centres – to fund the equipment and installation costs, the European Commission explained.
It wants to fund free Wi-Fi “in public squares, piazzas, parks, hospitals and other indoor or outdoor public spaces”, the EU executive said in a statement.
The WiFi4EU initiative will contribute to the vision of having “every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020”, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said when he launched the initiative last year.