16 April 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Supporting remote working will strengthen communities
Full take up of the ‘WiFi4EU’ public WiFi scheme by local authorities will help improve connectivity across Ireland, supporting remote working and strengthening communities, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Fine Gael Cork North Central TD, Colm Burke, is calling on all local authorities to avail of the scheme.
Deputy Burke said, “All local authorities across Ireland can and should avail of the WiFi4EU scheme to improve connectivity in their communities.
“WiFi4EU is co-funded by the Government and the European Commission and is designed to support the development of wireless broadband by providing a high-quality internet service, free of charge, in public spaces such as main streets, public parks, libraries, museums and other public areas of high footfall.
“Ireland has been one of the most successful countries to take part in the scheme, with 30 of the 31 local authorities securing vouchers under the scheme. So far, 967 hotspots are live across 21 Local Authority areas, but we can improve this. I would like to see the remaining nine local authorities taking part and going live before the end of the year, including my own county of Cork.
“Vouchers worth €15,000 are available to install Wi-Fi hotspots and local authorities can apply for up to four vouchers each throughout the lifetime of the initiative, and must install a minimum of 10 access points per voucher.
“Due to Covid restrictions, extensions were granted to allow local authorities to fully complete their projects. The WIFI4EU scheme will be fully completed by December 2022, when it is expected that the remaining local authorities will have utilised the vouchers granted.
“Fine Gael is building stronger, safer communities, and we are working to ensure our towns, villages, and cities are great places to live, work, run a business, raise a family, and grow old. We recently highlighted the growing network of connected hubs across the country, that support remote working as a viable option in every county. We have seen an acceleration of connectivity across the country in recent years and full take up of the WIFI4EU scheme by local authorities will serve to strengthen that.”