EU to provide free public 100Mbps Wi-Fi in 28 member states
The internet is one of the most indispensable conveniences of the 21st-century lifestyle and yet access to it is not exactly free or affordable for many around the world. The EU plans to change this for European citizens through a program that will grant free public Wi-Fi for everyone.
Jean-Claude Juncker, current president of the European Union’s executive body, is pushing to provide free public Wi-Fi that reaches everywhere by 2020, reports ExtremeTech.
The public Wi-Fi project, or Wifi4EU, will have a minimum download speed of 100Mbps for all European households. Hospitals, administrations and other public services reliant on digital technologies will have a minimum of 1 GBps for upload and download. Finally, 5G access will be made uninterruptible on all major roads and railways.
Juncker’s plan also includes expenditure from the commission amounting to a maximum of €120 million to install the necessary equipment. It is presumed that municipalities will be shouldering maintenance costs and other ancillary expenses. However, it is worth noting that the EU has 28 member states and dividing €120 million will result in each country receiving only a little over €4 million from the commission to set up the facilities.
Apart from the infrastructure plan, Juncker also talked about having copyright protections for creators and artists whom he claims to be their “crown jewels.” He did allude to a set of controversial copyright laws such as “Google tax” and the “YouTube rule.”
The vision for Wifi4EU is a grand one despite questions on how it can actually be done. If and when it does get implemented, it could prove to be a major development in the move to provide internet connectivity to every person on the planet.
On another note, researchers have made strides in making Terabit fiber optic technology more viable for commercial use. Perhaps Wifi4EU can benefit from this in the future. Alfred Bayle
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