The European Commission wishes to promote free Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens and visitors in public spaces including parks, squares, public buildings, libraries, health centres, and museums, everywhere in Europe through the WiFi4EU scheme.
Benefiting from connectivity through the WiFi4EU scheme means that it should not matter where you live or how much you earn. The European Commission’s vision is to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020.
The WiFi4EU scheme is open to public sector bodies – typically local municipalities, libraries, health centres, etc. Local authorities are encouraged to develop and promote their own digital services in areas such as e-government, e-health and e-tourism through a dedicated app.
Budget & Funding
The budget for the WiFi4EU scheme is set at 120 million Euros. This will support the installation of state-of-the-art Wi-Fi equipment (network infrastructure), while the beneficiary will pay for the connectivity (internet subscription) and maintenance.
Municipalities will pay for the internet access and the maintenance of the network during the first three years.
Installation should not duplicate existing free private or public networks in the same public space.
WiFi4EU-funded networks must be free of charge for all users.
Municipalities are free to select the installation company of their choice.
VEI Global are one of the leading companies for pan-European Wi-Fi deployments. Having carried out installations of this nature for over ten years, VEI Global are well positioned in the market to assist Municipalities, across Europe, with making the WiFi4EU concept a reality.
Wi-Fi networks in large open, public spaces – such as in Town Squares, Libraries, Concert Venues and Sports Facilities – have huge peak demands, no easy wiring options and high expectations for “always-on” availability. If the network suffers from frequent failures and offers only sporadic availability, the negative impact on the host facility’s reputation can be viral and immediate.
Sufficient time is rarely available to diagnose and repair problems in these networks. Festivals, Sporting Events or any type of large public gatherings usually occur only for a few hours at a time. So in the case of public-space networks, a wireless solution that is always on and self-healing – and forgoes incremental costs to reap these benefits – can keep users happy and the host facility’s reputation intact.
Case Study – Town WiFi Longford
Longford County Council wanted to bring high speed Town Wi-Fi to Lanesborough, Co. Longford.
This would not only be for the benefit of the local community but also assist in the tourism aspect of Lanesborough town.
Wi-Fi Hotspots have been strategically placed throughout the Town to give full coverage of Lanesborough’s Main Street (approx. 1km) and local community areas, children’s park, Lough Ree Resource Centre and St. Mary’s Hall.
An 8ft tall 55 inch interactive digital signage screen placed in the town centre for all to use showing:
- ‘What’s on’ in the town
- Local tourism attractions
- Cycle paths
- Woodland walks
- Lough Ree
- Lanesborough’s world famous angling areas
“We encourage users to upload pictures, write reviews and generally comment across all Social media options (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram) about their time spent in Lanesborough and the wonderful amenities that are here”, said Councillor Mark Casey, “now with FREE Town Wi-Fi this type of interaction is made even easier.”