Three Wicklow Municipal Districts – Arklow, Wicklow and Baltinglass – are to get free WiFI hot-spots, thanks to a European funding initiative. Wicklow County Council was successful in its application to secure the three WiFi vouchers worth €15,000 each.
Dónal O’Keeffe, Broadband Development Officer, Wicklow County Council, confirmed: “This funding will enable the development of several free public WiFi hotspots within these districts, which will aim to enhance public space amenities for local communities. Work on the procurement process with the Department of Communications will commence this month along with the selection of locations of WiFi hotspots”.
The vouchers were made available under the European Commission initiative, “WiFi4EU”. A total of 59 vouchers were awarded around the country, representing 21 local authorities which will benefit from the project and combined Irish funding of €885,000. The funding will be matched by the Department, doubling the value of the investment in public WiFi networks.
According to Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Mr Sean Canney TD: “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.
“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.”