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Free public Wi-Fi could come to the EU by 2020

The European Commission is planning to provide free internet access across the EU by 2020, Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed.

The President of the European Commission also wants to see at least one city equipped with 5G by that time, announcing the WIFI4EU proposal in his state of union address.

Digital technology is ‘permeating every aspect of life’ Juncker claimed as he laid out plans to equip at least 6,000-8,000 communities with free internet access.

The plan, Juncker announced, comes from a belief that benefiting from connectivity should not depend on ‘where you live or how much you earn’.

Watch: Trusted explains how to improve your Wi-Fi signal

Related: How to get Free Wi-Fi

Critics have been quick to point out the limited $120 million budget for the proposal. The EC only plans to cover the installation of the necessary equipment and the maintenance and subscription costs will fall on local councils.

What’s more, with free Wi-Fi readily available on major high streets, critics are sceptical about whether local councils will want to stump up the cash for unnecessary internet.  

Currently, it’s unclear whether the programme will be rolled out to the UK, as the country may have quit the EU by the end of the decade.

Critics are equally sceptic about the plans to roll out 5G network coverage. ConnectivityX, a telecoms service argues that the 5G spectrum won’t be available until 2018 and won’t be licensed until the following year

That means any rollouts will only take place in very targeted areas like popular tourist destinations.

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