Offaly County Council has received €30,000 in EU funding to create two free public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Canney TD today welcomed the announcement of the first successful applicants of the European WiFi initiative, WiFi4EU.
This announcement sees Ireland securing €885,000 to establish a minimum of 59 free, open-access WiFi hot-spots throughout the country. This funding comes in the form of vouchers, worth €15,000 each, distributed to the successful local authorities.
Speaking today, Minister Canney stated: “This is a fantastic result for Ireland, Irish local authorities applied for 105 vouchers and secured 59 of them. This will bring free WiFi hotspots to many public spaces throughout the country and will vastly improve connectivity in communities."
"I am also very pleased to confirm that the Department of Rural and Community Development will match all successful vouchers with a further allocation of up to €15,000. I hope that this contribution will help local authorities in developing an even more substantial network of free public WiFi hotspots.”
The Department of Rural and Community Development will match the funding provided by the European Commission, potentially doubling the value of the investment in public WiFi networks.
The vouchers were awarded at EU level on a first-come first-served basis and Minister Canney added: “This outcome shows how proactive local authorities in Ireland are and their determination to bring connectivity to their areas. They are doing as much as they can to provide their communities with a much-needed service and their efforts and engagement need to be applauded."
"Officials from my Department worked very closely with Broadband Officers, local authorities and the European Commission ahead of the first call for applications, and this great result is a demonstration of the very positive engagement and willingness from all involved to improve the connectivity of communities."
“Each successful local authority now has 18 months to select locations for the WiFi4EU hotspots and complete their installation to be ready for public use. These locations need to be ‘centres of public life’ where no other free WiFi service is already available. The WiFi4EU service will be free of charge, free of advertising and free from commercial re-use of data.”
Minister of State Canney, added: “The amount of work invested in this project by our local authorities should not be underestimated. It speaks to a shared commitment to improve free-of-charge public WiFi services and to bring down the cost of mobile data."
“Local authorities across Ireland now have an opportunity to install WiFi in their villages, towns and cities, in parks and hospitals, libraries and town squares and I wish them all the best in their endeavours.”