The launch of an online portal whereby local authorities can apply for free wi-fi hotspots from the European Commission will open in the coming weeks, it has been confirmed.
Local authorities across rural Ireland can avail of the funding for free wi-fi, which could potentially benefit tourism in many rural areas.
The €120 million funding will provide areas with low-quality internet connectivity with wi-fi and will provide up to 8,000 free public wi-fi hotspots across the European Union. It will be granted on a ‘first-come, first served’ basis.
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North-West constituency, Matt Carthy, called on local authorities to avail of the funding, and to submit applications when the online portal becomes available.
“The European Commission has reported that it is working on an online portal which will be available in the coming weeks so that local authorities and installation companies can apply to the Wifi4EU scheme,” he said.
Matt Carthy MEP was told that the portal will open in February.
“The scheme will give local areas, especially those who do not have a high level of internet connectivity currently, the opportunity to avail of grants for free wifi-hotspots in public areas.
“I would encourage all those local authorities who are interested in applying to the scheme to stay up to date and watch out for the launch of the scheme.
“Increased internet connectivity benefits the promotion of tourism, which is an essential sector in many rural areas. Additionally, the development of local domestic economies, particularly those dependent on small and medium businesses, rely upon a decent infrastructure and reliable internet connectivity in order to develop,” the Sinn Féin MEP said.
Further information on the Wifi4EU scheme can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/wifi4eu-questions-and-answers