Donegal County Council has succeeded in securing €60,000 funding from the European WiFi initiative, WiFi4EU.
The local authority is being granted €60,000 in vouchers to establish free, open-access WiFi hot-spots throughout the county. The fund will enable the creation of approximately 34 public WiFi zones in across Donegal.
A total of €885,000 was awarded to 21 local authorities to support the development.
The funding announcement was made by Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Canney TD, who said:
“This is a fantastic result for Ireland, Irish local authorities applied for 105 vouchers and secured 59 of them. This will bring free WiFi hotspots to many public spaces throughout the country and will vastly improve connectivity in communities.”
The Department of Rural and Community Development will match the funding provided by the European Commission, potentially doubling the value of the investment in public WiFi networks.
Minister Canney said: “I hope that this contribution will help local authorities in developing an even more substantial network of free public WiFi hotspots.”
The vouchers were awarded at EU level on a first-come first-served basis and Minister Canney added: “This outcome shows how proactive local authorities in Ireland are and their determination to bring connectivity to their areas. They are doing as much as they can to provide their communities with a much needed service and their efforts and engagement need to be applauded. Officials from my Department worked very closely with Broadband Officers, local authorities and the European Commission ahead of the first call for applications, and this great result is a demonstration of the very positive engagement and willingness from all involved to improve the connectivity of communities.
“Each successful local authority now has 18 months to select locations for the WiFi4EU hotspots and complete their installation to be ready for public use. These locations need to be ‘centres of public life’ where no other free WiFi service is already available. The WiFi4EU service will be free of charge, free of advertising and free from commercial re-use of data.”
Minister of State Canney, added: “The amount of work invested in this project by our local authorities should not be underestimated. It speaks to a shared commitment to improve free-of-charge public WiFi services and to bring down the cost of mobile data.
“Local authorities across Ireland now have an opportunity to install WiFi in their villages, towns and cities, in parks and hospitals, libraries and town squares and I wish them all the best in their endeavours.”
Brian Boyle Head of Information Services in Donegal County Council explains that “once these vouchers are received we will commence a process of determining suitable locations in consultation with the Municipal District members and which fit the WiFi4EU programme criteria”.
He adds “the Council currently provides free WiFi connectivity within its Public Service Centres, Libraries, and Culture Centres and this WiFi4EU programme will now facilitate the rollout of this free WiFi service into other public spaces. This is an important step forward in the delivery of the Donegal Digital Action Plan and will contribute substantially to strengthening the economic development of our towns and villages and creating vibrant open public spaces.”Tags: