New networks to go - WiFi4EU and 5G
New EC initiative give possibility to all interested local authorities to offer free Wi-Fi connections to any citizen, for example, in and around public buildings, health centres, parks or squares. With an initial budget of €120 million, this new public voucher scheme has the potential to deliver connectivity to thousands of public spaces, generating 40 to 50 million Wi-Fi connections per day.
Financing for the installation of local wireless access points should be available quickly, after adoption of the scheme by the European Parliament and Member States. A minimum of 6000 to 8000 local communities should benefit from this new project by 2020. As foreseen in the eCommerce Directive, the local authorities offering these services to their citizens would not be liable for the content that they transmit.
The Commission also presented a 5G Action Plan, which foresees a common EU calendar for a coordinated 5G commercial launch in 2020, as well as joint work with Member States and industry stakeholders to identify and allocate spectrum bands for 5G, organise pan-European 5G trials as of 2018, promote common global 5G standards and encourage the adoption of national 5G deployment roadmaps across all EU Member States.
The Commission and investors in the telecoms sector also consider providing venture capital to start-ups developing 5G solutions for innovative applications and services across industrial sectors. This would take the form of a specialised venture financing facility helping them to bring new services to market such as in the area of automated driving, goods delivered by drones, or virtual reality for specific professional collaboration.