Free Public Wifi another step closer to reality - Ní Riada
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has welcomed the progression of the WiFi4EU project she is leading.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking as political agreement was reached between the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the initiative which will see free public Wi-Fi hotspots installed in communities across the EU.
“I am delighted that this scheme is continuing to progress. It is a fantastic development for citizens throughout Europe,” he said.
“It will be particularly advantageous for rural towns and villages in Ireland, which have been internet blackspots for years, and will hopefully encourage the Government to live up their repeated promises to roll out Broadband schemes across rural Ireland.
“As rapporteur of this initiative in the parliament I am proud to have been able to play my part in getting the agreement of all parties to make the roll-out of Wifi4EU a reality.
“€120m has been secured to ensure funding for equipment that will deliver free public Wi-Fi hotspots in thousands of public spaces and institutions throughout the EU.
“The last step to complete this initiative and to see the roll-out begin should take place around mid-June when legislative discussions on the review of the current Multi-annual Financial Framework programme are expected to be complete.
“I will then begin an awareness campaign for local authorities in Ireland to submit applications for funding from this scheme and put in place free Wi-Fi for marginal and rural communities.
“However, I would caution that this scheme, while invaluable to the communities and businesses it will reach, is only a first step. Access to the internet is now as fundamental a right as access to electricity or water; if the Government is to fulfil its responsibilities then it must live up to its commitments on rolling high speed broadband out to every corner of the country.”