Galway county receives three EU grants for free public wifi


Galway County has secured three EU vouchers worth a total of €45,000 to install free public wifi hotspots.

Under the Wifi4EU initiative each local authority is able to apply for up to four vouchers worth €15,000 apiece to install free public wifi in spaces such as parks, squares, libraries and other public areas.

Galway county council will now have 18 months to select the location for their wifi hotspots and install it for public use.

Under the guidelines of the programme they must be ‘centres of public life’ where no other free WiFi service is already available.

The service will be free of charge, free of advertising and free from commercial re-use of data.

Ireland was awarded 22 vouchers worth a total of vouchers in this round of the Wifi4EU programme worth a total of €330,000.

Last year Galway city received the maximum level of funding under round 1 of Wifi4EU of €60,000 and Galway county received €15,000.

Each local authority can only receive four vouchers in the lifetime of the programme which Galway has now maxed out.

Ireland was awarded 62 vouchers, amounting to €930,000, in 2018 under the Wifi4EU initiative.

Galway TD and Minister of State for Digital Development Seán Canney said “Today’s announcement by the European Commission means that €1.26M has been awarded to Irish Local Authorities so far through the Wifi4EU initiative.”

“This is a great opportunity for communities and will be a tremendous help in providing a state of the art network of free WiFi hotspots in public spaces.”

The overall budget for the WiFi4EU scheme is €120 million between 2018 and 2020. €42 million was allocated to the first call and €51M to the second call.

With this second round, 17 local authorities in Ireland have secured all of the funding open to them, and the other are in the process of collecting the rest of theirs.

Deputy Canney said that the success of this programme in Ireland has been the work of Local Authority Broadband Officers “who approached the scheme with great enthusiasm and energy”.

“Since their appointment three years ago, Broadband Officers have continually shown the benefit of their roles and this is just one example of how they are working together to improve connectivity in their communities.”