Greece Will Build 3,000 Nationwide Free Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

It’s often difficult to keep the Internet going, even at homes or businesses supplied by major telecommunications companies in Greece, but the government is pledging to install 3,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots across the country in 2020.

Greece ranks only 72nd in the world for Internet connection speed, behind even Romania and Bulgaria, and 22nd in mobile download speed, according to ratings from Akamai Technology.

The plans for widespread free Wi-Fi across the country include open-air and enclosed public spaces, such as city squares, playgrounds, libraries, museums, and pedestrian zones, said Greece’s Department of Telecommunications and Post, reported Wi-Fi Now.

The main goal of the project is to cover as many public access areas as possible throughout Greece including many islands and popular tourist destinations. The initiative is mostly funded by European Union programs ESIF and ERDF with a total budget of 14.8 million euros ($16.67 million,) implemented by the Greek ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications, and Media.

The locations will be identified and proposed by municipalities across Greece and will mostly focus on parks, squares, pedestrian areas, various educational facilities, health centers, and public transportation, the report said.

Once installed any of the new Wi-Fi hotspots will be able to connect up to 80 concurrent users, the government said, and users won’t have to enter personal data but there will be a time limit on usage, likely an hour, before then reconnecting.

“Free Wi-Fi connectivity is a key priority for the European Union’s Digital Single Market (DSM) and Gigabit Society programs. The aim of the project is twofold: it will help to bridge the connectivity gap – and moreover it will contribute to broadband penetration by creating more broadband user communities. It is also anticipated to act as a demand driver,” Vassilis Maglaras, Secretary General of Greece’s Department of Telecommunications and Post told the news site.

This is the second time the Greek government is attempting to set up a nationwide free public Wi-Fi network. The country launched a similar program in 2004 seeking to create 600 hotspots. The project was never completed.