In the first 2 seconds alone, more than 2,000 municipalities signed up for the third phase of the WiFI4EU program, which will subsidize the installation of free Wi-Fi networks in thousands of European cities. By the time of registration, more than 11,000 municipalities had registered interest, more than six times more than the available funding vouchers, which at this stage is 1,780.
Already in the previous stages of application the volume of applications was high. In the first phase more than 10,000 municipalities registered the interest, but the rules are very clear and the vouchers are delivered to those who first apply on the portal, and to ensure geographic diversity, each country has guaranteed a minimum of 15 vouchers and can potentially earn a maximum of 142 funding vouchers.
Each voucher has a fixed value of 15 thousand euros and so far 6,200 municipalities have been chosen to receive this support. An additional 1,780 parishes will now be added and a new phase of applications is planned for next year.
After the applications, it is up to the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), the Commission's executive agency responsible for implementing the WiFi4EU program, to make the necessary eligibility checks for the municipalities.
The goal is to ensure wireless network coverage in parks, squares, hospitals, health centers, public buildings, museums and libraries, but also train and bus stations. WiFI4EU provides free access to residents and non-residents, with a simple authentication process, without advertising and with protection of personal data.
The European program had as rapporteur the Portuguese MEP Carlos Zorrinho and set aside 120 million euros to finance the provision of free internet access to Europeans, and the creation of a platform that manages the identity of users across networks.