Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

Visual Data

Mediterranean towns ready for EU-sponsored free wifi

  • Around 17,000 municipalities across the EU have pre-registered for a voucher to install a public wireless internet hotspot (Photo: Les rencontres RSLN)

The European Union's fund for free wireless internet connection hotspots is most popular in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Romania.

The scheme, called WiFi4EU, has already attracted the interest of around 17,000 European municipalities that have pre-registered for a voucher, which can be used to pay internet companies to set up the wifi infrastructure.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

However, only around 2,500 municipalities are expected to benefit from the fund under the 2018 budget.

The first call of proposals will be launched on Tuesday (15 May) and will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis to those municipalities that have pre-registered – which is possible until 1pm on Tuesday – and then apply through the fund's website.

Ahead of that deadline, EUobserver and the European Data Journalism Network (EDJNet) teamed up to look at where the pre-registered European municipalities are from.

When looking at Europe's different regions, and the share of municipalities that have pre-registered, a couple of EU countries stand out.

In particular southern European countries have high pre-participation rates.

Almost all municipalities in Malta registered, and 75.4 percent of towns in Sicily. Adriatic Croatia, or Jadranska Hrvatska, has a rate of 70.9 percent.

Pre-registration shares are also high in western German states and Belgium.

At the bottom end, the scheme has not proven very popular in most of the Czech Republic, southern Greece, and the United Kingdom. Except for the UK, lack of awareness of the fund could be as much of an explanation for that as already having sufficient public WiFi available.

None of the municipalities in Northern Ireland have pre-registered, and very few in the rest of the UK, which will only be eligible after Brexit if specific arrangements were made. Only the Highlands and Scottish islands pop up, because 4.7 percent of municipalities there have pre-registered.

Taking the United Kingdom as a whole, only 0.8 percent of municipalities have pre-registered.

When looking at the share of municipalities in the EU's 28 countries, Malta tops the list with 97.1 percent of municipalities pre-registered – followed by Bulgaria (86 percent), Croatia (67.6 percent), Slovenia (59.9 percent), Belgium (54 percent), Italy (45.5 percent), Romania (44.9 percent).

In Denmark, only 1.3 percent of municipalities pre-registered.

Similarly small shares can be found in Greece (3.9 percent), Bulgaria (4.2 percent), France (5.9 percent), Czech Republic (6 percent), Portugal (8.6 percent), and Lithuania (9.5 percent).

Taking another point of view – in the same map above – one can see that the three biggest EU states of the remaining 27 have most of the EU's pre-registered municipalities.

Italy (21.9 percent), Germany (14.5 percent), and France (12.7 percent), take up almost half of all pre-registered municipalities.

That can be explained by their sheer size and number of municipalities.

Because of the first-come, first-serve basis, it could be that just a few member states take most of the available vouchers if they happen to be quick.

However, under the first call each EU country will receive at least 15 vouchers.

If you want to find out if your municipality has pre-registered, you can follow this link (but be aware loading may take a while).

This article is based on data from the European Commission's WiFi4EU portal, downloaded on 11 May, before the final deadline of pre-registration. Following publication, Bulgaria reached out to the European Data Journalism Network to provide figures which had not been part of that original trove.

The European Data Journalism Network (EDJNet) is a new platform for data-driven news on European affairs brought to you in up to 12 languages by a consortium of media and data journalists from all over Europe, which includes EUobserver.

Focus

Free wifi plan backed by MEP committee

A large majority supports giving out subsidies to European cities and municipalities to help them set up wireless internet hotspots.

Focus

States seek softer access to EU wifi fund

Free wifi for all? Not on the current EU Commission proposal, which lacks the funds, MEPs say, and which could come at a price for users' privacy.

Analysis

Juncker's unrealistic promise of free wifi

The commission president said "every European village and every city" will have public internet access in 2020, but the statement was not backed up by any legally binding target.

Exclusive

EU official proposed covering up wifi portal flaw

Director of Electronic Communications Networks and Services Anthony Whelan says in an internal document that he wanted to eliminate "possible criticisms" and "marginalise questions".

Exclusive

Commission tried to hide details of 'WiFi4EU' glitch

The commission heavily redacted documents released to EUobserver because they were reportedly 'out of scope'. Transparency campaigner Helen Darbishire says however the information was "clearly directly relevant to the request".

News in Brief

  1. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  2. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  3. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  4. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls
  5. Italy defies EU deadline on changing budget
  6. Report: FBI looking into Brexiteers Farage and Banks
  7. Italian journalist unions protest 5MS 'whores' jibe
  8. Czech PM's son alleges kidnap plot against his father

Magazine

A deep dive into the EU regional funds

While the regional funds account for a full third of the EU budget, they are somewhat under-reported. EUobserver's latest edition of the Regions & Cities magazine looks at the EU's cohesion policy.

Magazine

The EU Agencies Race

In this edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine, we take a closer look at some of the EU agencies, exploring how their location matters and the benefits for cities and regions to host them.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  2. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  3. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  4. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  5. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  6. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  7. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  8. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us