The European Union’s fund for free wireless internet connection hotspots is most popular in Belgium, Portugal, Bulgaria, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia. Check if your municipality pre-registered.
The European Union’s fund for free wireless internet connection hotspots is most popular in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Romania. The scheme, called WiFi4EU, has already attracted the interest of around 17,000 European municipalities that have pre-registered for a voucher, which can be used to pay internet companies to set up the wifi infrastructure. However, only around 2,500 municipalities are expected to benefit from the fund under the 2018 budget.
The first call of proposals will be launched on 15 May and will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis to those municipalities that have pre-registered – which is possible until 1pm on 15 May – and then apply through the fund’s website. Ahead of that deadline, EUobserver and the European Data Journalism Network (EDJNet) teamed up to look at where the pre-registered European municipalities are from.
When looking at Europe’s different regions, and the share of municipalities that have pre-registered, a couple of EU countries stand out. In particular, southern European countries have high pre-participation rates.
Almost all municipalities in Malta registered, and 75.4 percent of towns in Sicily. Adriatic Croatia has a rate of 70.9 percent. Pre-registration shares are also high in western German states and Belgium. At the bottom end, the scheme has not proven very popular in most of the Czech Republic, southern Greece, and the United Kingdom. Except for the UK, lack of awareness of the fund could be as much of an explanation for that as already having sufficient public wifi available.
None of the municipalities in Northern Ireland have pre-registered, and very few in the rest of the UK, which will only be eligible after Brexit if specific arrangements were made. Only the Highlands and Scottis