A WiFi4EU year is over and many municipalities have already benefited from vouchers for the WiFi expansion. We remeber: 2019 there were two calls for submissions - in April and September - more than 10,000 municipalities across Europe applied for a WiFi4EU voucher. Just over half, namely 5,180 municipalities from the 30 participating countries, received the funding. The first community who completed their WiFi project and got the money, was the small Austrian community Wiesfleck in Burgenland with just 1,150 inhabitants. Connected to the fiber optic network in 2018, Wiesfleck was now able to take the step to free, public WiFi with the help of WiFi4EU. The requirements of the EU Commission could be met in a very short time. Hotspots were installed in each of the four districts. According to the mayor, both young and old can benefit form WiFi at the sports and recreational centres, youth centre or fire station. But larger cities like Pula in Croatia can already offer free WiFi in public areas; on the WiFi4EU website you will find these and other success stories from winning communities.
In Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Lithunia, Portugal and Slovenia, more than 70% of all eligible institutions were able to nail down a voucher. There are now 26,000 registered entities on the WiFi4EU portal, on the community platform Futurium, where communities and companies can exchange information about their projects, 1,200 new members are moving. In addition, six special webinars were offered for the registered installation companies in order to clarify implementation questions in a simple way. The EU Commission with President Ursula von der Leyen, which was lauded in 2019, has also put digitization on the agenda as an important item, namely for a "Europe fit for the digital age". The focus is on data protection, access to digital goods and services and framework conditions for digital networks and services.
It remains to be seen what the European Commission will implement and in what period. However, it is certain that there will be the fourth call for WiFi4EU in spring (unfortunately no exact date has yet been determined - we will stay tuned!). And maybe we'll see success stories from your community in the near future.
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