Europe finally approves wifi on a shoestring initiative

The European Commission (hereafter known as the Gaggle of Red-tapers) has announced an agreement with other regulatory bores to fund the WiFi4EU initiative.

The project itself will see the Gaggle combine forces with the European Parliament and the Council to drive free public wifi hotspots throughout all of its member states. Forming part of Digital Single Market strategy, the play for public wifi will see €120 million made available for up to 8000 municipalities throughout the European Union. It took a mere eight months after first proposing it to wave the initiative through

“The Digital Single Market strategy aims to build a fully connected Europe where everyone has access to high-quality digital networks,” said Chief Gaggler Andrus Ansip.

“The WiFi4EU initiative will improve connectivity in particular where access to the internet is limited. WiFi4EU is a welcome first step, but much more needs to be done to achieve high-speed connectivity across the whole EU-territory – such as improving Europe-wide coordination of spectrum and stimulating investments in high-capacity networks that Europe needs.”

While it is a nice idea, one has to question whether the ambition is achievable. Firstly, you should consider the quality of public wifi in your local area. Your correspondent lives in London, and has to suffer through the BT Fon experience occasionally; let’s be honest, it is terrible. Some might be sceptical as to whether this could be a stimulus for the digital economy.

Secondly, is there going to be enough money? €120 million is a healthy amount of change, but split between 8000 municipalities brings that amount down to €15,000 per applicant. That it €15,000 to pay for equipment, labour, administration costs, insurance and any other expense which can be found down the public sector rabbit hole.

It is certainly a nice idea, one which could facilitate a borderless digital economy throughout the European Union, however it does not seem like a suitable amount of cash to ensure the project will be a success.

For those municipalities who will to apply for funding, they must contact the Gaggle and apply through what has been described as a ‘simple and non-bureaucratic process’. What that actually means we are unsure about currently, however it smells fishy. The Gaggle of Red-tapers have a wonderfully awkward skill to make anything boresome and tedious.

One comment

  1. Avatar Claus Hetting 30/05/2017 @ 1:47 pm

    We’re supporting this 200% at Wi-Fi NOW. Stay tuned for more info. And btw, both the Commission & our team here (and many others) are very well aware of the challenges 🙂

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