EUROPEAN UNION institutions agreed this week to set aside €120 million in order to provide free Wi-Fi by 2020 to up to 8,000 municipalities in the EU in areas with no internet coverage.
The initiative will be funded from the current €1 trillion EU budget, which runs from 2014 to 2020. Towns will have to apply to get the funds.
The three EU institutions – the European Commission, the council of EU governments and the parliament – decided that funds for the free Wi-Fi initiative will come from a limited review of the seven-year EU budget.
This political compromise will need to be followed by a technical agreement over how the EU budget’s resources should be used to fund the new project.
The EU budget cannot be increased, but funds can be partly shifted. New resources could also come from fines to companies or other one-off revenues.