On April 25th, Members of the European Parliament supported the European Commission’s WiFi4EU initiative, which consists in creating EU-funded wireless access points in public areas all over the continent. They also called for a 5G spectrum strategy. What are the main objectives of this European project ?
With the WiFi4EU initiative, the European Commission aims at promoting free Wi-Fi for Europeans in all public areas such as librairies, museums, parks or even health centres. The purpose of this project is to help develop a real and efficient digital single market, which is one of the 10 priorities established by the Juncker Commission at the very beginning of its mandate. The WiFi4EU scheme benefits from a substantial budget of 120 million euros for the 2017-2019 period. MEPs recently approved idea but also pointed out that users should be able to connect without any restrictions on connection time, volume or speed.
The members of the European Commission had actually already exposed their will to create a competitive digital single market within the EU. A few months ago, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, highlighted once again the necessity of achieving this ambition : “Connectivity is a key prerequisite for Europe’s digital future. It is time to make sure all Europeans, whether in the countryside or in cities, can get access to a quality internet connection. We are happy that the Member States have backed WiFi4EU so swiftly – it also shows the importance and real value of the initiative » . On this topic, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker added : « Everyone benefiting from connectivity means that it should not matter where you live or how much you earn. So we propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020″.
Günther H. Oettinger
Concerning the 5G spectrum strategy, MEPs insisted on launching a smooth switch to 5G. Creating a strong and coherent EU spectrum strategy would then have a positive impact on European competitiveness, growth and cohesion. Finally, this kind of project would make standardisation and experimentation with 5G technologies much easier.