The European Commission has released the opening date for applications to the Wifi4EU scheme, which will be launched on the 15th May.
Speaking from Brussels, Matt Carthy MEP, who is Shadow Rapporteur on this file in the Transport and Tourism Committee said:
“From now local authorities can register via the European Commission’s online portal. The registration entails the creation of a login and details of the contact person for that County Council. Once a local authority registers for the scheme their registration is valid for all calls within the Wifi4EU scheme.
“On 15th May will see the first call for applications. The application will be prioritised on a ‘first come, first-served basis’ so it is extremely important that local authorities submit their application on the launch date.
“The first call has funding of €15 million, with each successful local authority receiving €15,000.
“Across the European Union, 1000 areas will receive a Wifi4EU voucher, with at least 15 local authorities per Member State benefitting.
“The scheme will aim to be geographically balanced with no Member State experiencing differential treatment.
“However, if not initially successful, local authorities will have opportunity to apply again, as calls for application to the scheme will take place every six months, with five calls scheduled within this EU budget, before 2020.
“As Shadow Rapporteur on this file in the Transport and Tourism Committee, I am delighted that 15 local authorities in Ireland will receive in the first call free public Wi-Fi as a result of work here in the European Parliament.
“Local authorities will receive a voucher, which will fund the installation and equipment of the public Wi-Fi hotspot to be established for a minimum of three years. Local authorities will be given 18 months to use the voucher. If they fail to do so will be unable to apply again.
“Although installation companies can apply to the portal to express their interest in being involved in the scheme, local authorities will be free to choose any installation company they prefer.
“Those who can apply include municipalities (local authorities) and also associations formed by municipalities.
“As a Member of the European Parliament, I look forward to working with local authorities to ensure communities in the Midlands North-West constituency benefit from the Wifi4EU scheme.”