Thursday, 4 February 2021

Questions (266)

Pat Buckley


266. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if her Department will upgrade the WiFi in the town centre of Cobh, County Cork through the EU for WiFi scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6132/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

WiFi4EU is a European initiative, funded by the European Commission and co-funded in Ireland by my Department.  The initiative aims 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.

Under the WiFi4EU scheme, Local Authorities applied through a competitive process to secure vouchers worth €15,000 each to install Wi-Fi hotspots within their municipalities. Ireland’s Local Authorities could apply for up to 4 vouchers each throughout the lifetime of the initiative. Local Authorities must install a minimum of 10 access points per voucher. Depending on the location chosen, one or more access point may be required in that location. 

Our Local Authorities have secured 114 vouchers out of a maximum of 124 vouchers available, which makes Ireland one of the most successful countries to take part in the scheme. 30 of the 31 Local Authorities secured vouchers under the scheme.

My Department is providing co-funding of up to €15,000 for each voucher secured by the Local Authorities, effectively doubling the value of the investment.  It is estimated that over 2,200 WiFi hotspots could be installed at locations across the country under the WiFi4EU initiative when completed. To date, over 170 hotspots are ‘live’ across 8 Local Authority areas.

Cork County Council secured 4 vouchers under the WiFI4EU initiative, which will allow them to deploy a minimum of 40 WiFi access points.  If the Council chooses to avail of my Department's co-funding, this number could potentially be doubled.

Decisions regarding the location of individual WiFi4EU hotspots lies with each Local Authority.

Question No. 267 answered with Question No. 265.