Data networking solutions firm Aruba has teamed up with consulting body Wi-Fi Now to oversee the rollout of free public internet networks across the EU.
The HPE-owned company will take an advisory role in this project, which aims to bring free Wi-Fi connectivity to between 6,000 and 8,000 areas across Europe.
Announced by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as part of the State of the Union address, the initiative is aimed at getting local authorities to apply for a €120 million pot of funding.
The funding is to help authorities plan and implement digital services in public spaces such as schools, libraries, health centres and other buildings accessible to general communities.
Morten Illum, VP of EMEA at HPE Aruba, said: “The expectations of today’s user is that Wi-Fi access is a necessity in their personal lives.
“The services provided by Cambridge City Council are a great example of what is possible with public Wi-Fi today and in the future.
“The WiFi4EU initiative will allow local governments to connect with their citizens in new ways to improves local services.”
Aruba will provide details of the project in a joint presentation with the University of Cambridge at the 2017 Wi-Fi Now Europe conference. The latter will take place on October 31st in The Hague, Netherlands.
The university manages the Connected Cambridge Network, which provides city-wide internet access for more than 18,000 students and local residents.
Jon Holgate, head of the University Information Systems’ network division, said the aim is to build a wireless network to cover the entire city.
“Most universities will have a campus. At Cambridge, the city is the campus. We want to make the wireless experience as seamless as possible as users move across the city,” he said.
Andrus Ansip, vice-President in charge of the digital single market Andrus Ansip, welcomed the WIFI4EU plans in May. He said they’re important for Europe’s future.
He said: “The Digital Single Market strategy aims to build a fully connected Europe where everyone has access to high-quality digital networks.
“The WiFi4EU initiative will improve connectivity in particular where access to the internet is limited.
“WiFi4EU is a welcome first step, but much more needs to be done to achieve high-speed connectivity across the whole EU territory – such as improving Europe-wide coordination of spectrum and stimulating investments in the high-capacity networks that Europe needs.”
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