Here at PurpleJelly IT Solutions Hampshire we are always curious about new developments in the IT industry. We care about internet access, and believe it to be essential to any business or individual, so we were very excited when we heard about the EU working to provide free Wi-Fi to public areas all over Europe.
The project name is “WIFI4EU”, and the aim is to open free Wi-Fi hotspots in all EU cities. Pretty ambitious, and with a budget of only €120 million to provide free Wi-Fi in over 100 cities across Europe, and 6,000 locations. The Wi-Fi hotspots will be in places like parks, squares, libraries and other public buildings. While the EU commission will subsidise the cost of installation, it will be the responsibility of the local community to pay for bandwidth and on-going maintenance.
The idea is free Wi-Fi to all EU citizens, however considering the budget it probably won’t be immediately successful. It is foreseen that there will be a lot of demand for these services, and to start with the hotspots will experience heavy Internet traffic (meaning it will be very slow). The goal is for the hotspots to provide Internet for thousands of people each day, and to have one tenth of people in Europe connected to this free Wi-Fi at any one time.
For public places that already offer a form of free Wi-Fi, nothing will change- the projects is solely focused on bringing Wi-Fi to new places rather than providing all round free Wi-Fi.
This is not the only attempt being made to make Internet more accessible. Another proposed reform being discussed in the EU government is the reform of telecommunications regulations, in order to provide more affordable broadband Internet access to lower income households (treating it as a universal service obligation). This would force national governments to enforce a scheme to ensure a proper Internet connection is an option for everyone (using a system of coupons or providing a special tariff for example).
However, this news doesn’t come without a little worry in regards to ones security of private information, to read more on the risks of using public Wi-Fi, click here.