Europe Is Getting Free Public Wifi in 8,000 Locations

Sayonara, roaming charges

June 1, 2017 9:00 am

When New York City launched its free LinkNYC wi-fi access program last year, the new system encountered an issue many initiatives have faced over the years: people used it to watch porn.

Since Europeans have long considered themselves to be our cultural betters, it will be interesting to see if the EU’s just-announced free wifi program will encounter the same problem.

As a first step to provide “every European village and city with free wireless internet ac­cess around the main centers of public life by 2020,” the European Commission’s WiFi4EU initiative will install free wireless hotspots in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities across 28 member states.

To obtain the hotspots, local authorities will apply for funding and, if accepted, receive a grant to buy and install state-of-the art equipment. Once the gear is installed, the recipient municipality has to cover the cost of running the internet connection itself.

It’s unclear which towns and cities will be the first to receive WiFi4EU connections, but we’d wager that we’ll find out soon as the program has already secured about $135 million in funding.

Regardless of whether the WiFi4EU initiative meets its 2020 goal, the program is good news for European citizens, American tourists and anyone who wants to save a couple bucks on data.

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