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WiFi4EU - Free Wi-Fi for Europeans
Deadline: 15 Jun 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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1. Background and rationale

The general context for this call for applications is defined in sections 2.3.2 and 4 of the amended 2017 CEF Telecom Work Programme as published in the WiFi4EU page on the INEA website. The background and rationale for this call for applications are defined in section 4.1.1 of the amended 2017 Work Programme.

For the purposes of this call, a simplified grant in the form of lump sum (a "voucher") will be granted.

 

 

2. Priorities & Objectives

2.1 Priority outcomes

The priority outcomes of this call for applications are defined in section 4.1.2.2 of the amended 2017 Work Programme.

 

The WiFi4EU initiative is a support scheme to provide high-quality Internet access to local residents and visitors in the centres of local public life.

Such local wireless connectivity that is free of charge and without discriminatory conditions is expected to contribute to bridging the digital divide, especially in communities that lag behind in terms of digital literacy, including in rural areas and remote locations.

It should further improve access to online services that increase quality of life in local communities by facilitating access to services, for example e-Health and e-Government, allow the creation of new digital inclusion offers, e.g. computer and internet use courses, and promote the development of local small and medium-sized enterprises innovating in digital products and services.

 

 

2.2 Results expected from the financial assistance

The benefits and expected outcomes of this call for applications are defined in section 4.1.2.2 of the amended 2017 Work Programme. An indicative number of 1.183 vouchers is expected to be awarded under this call.

 

3. Timetable

Opening of call for applications
15 May 2018 (13:00:00 CEST)

Closing of call for applications
15 June 2018 (17:00:00 CEST)

Evaluation of applications
June-September 2018 (indicative)

Consultation of the CEF Committee
September 2018 (indicative)

Adoption of the Selection Decision
September 2018 (indicative)

Preparation and signature of grant agreements
between October 2018 and 31 December 2018 at the latest

 

 

4. Budget

The indicative amount to be allocated on the basis of this call for applications for the WiFi4EU initiative is €17.745 million. The amount of each voucher to be allocated is €15,000 in the form of a lump sum.

 

5. Admissibility requirements

There are 5 admissibility requirements as follows:

1. Applications shall be submitted electronically via the WiFi4EU Portal.

2. Applications must be submitted using the EU Login account used for the registration of the municipality.

3. Applications must be complete, i.e. include the following two supporting documents uploaded to the WiFi4EU Portal:

  • 1. Legal representative (i.e. mayor/head of municipality) "proof of agreement to apply" form (including copy of legal ID/passport)
  • 2. Copy of an act of the nomination of the legal representative

4. Applications must be submitted by the call deadline indicated in section 3 above.

5. Both supporting documents referred to above must be readable and complete in order for the applications to be admissible.

 

Please note that the WiFi4EU Portal will not allow an application to be submitted unless the two supporting documents listed above are uploaded to the Portal.

Applications or part(s) of applications submitted by e-mail or hard copy will not be admissible.

Each beneficiary can only benefit from one voucher during the entire duration of the initiative..

 

6. Eligibility criteria

6.1 Eligible applicants

 

In accordance with the amended 2017 Work Programme, applications may only be submitted by a municipality or an association formed by municipalities on behalf of its members established in either an EU Member State, Iceland or Norway. Applicants must be included on the list of eligible municipalities and associations of municipalities as established on the date of the launch of the call.

NB: Associations of municipalities may apply on behalf of their members, i.e. one or several municipalities. However, associations of municipalities cannot be beneficiaries of vouchers. Only individual municipalities may benefit from a voucher.

 

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article I6.26.3.1 (a) (change of the legal situation of the beneficiary) of the grant agreement.

 

 

6.2 Eligible actions

The WiFi4EU initiative aims at providing support for actions which:

(1) are implemented by municipalities who must plan and supervise the installation of indoor or outdoor local wireless access points in public spaces, and who must commit to:

  • • keeping the WiFi installation active for a period of three years starting from the date of the confirmatory notification by the Agency described in Article 4.2 of the model grant agreement;
  • • migrating the registration and authentication system from the local captive portal to a single EU-level platform when the latter becomes available.  

(2) build on high-speed broadband connectivity enabling delivery of a high-quality internet experience to users that:

 

  • a) is free of charge and without discriminatory conditions, easy to access, and uses the latest and best equipment available, capable of delivering high-speed connectivity to its users;
  • b) supports access to innovative digital services, such as those offered via digital service infrastructures;
  • c) for the purpose of accessibility, provides access to services at least in the relevant languages of the Member State concerned and, to the extent possible, in other EU official languages;
  • d) is provided in centres of local public life, including outdoor spaces accessible to the general public in the public life of local communities.
  •  

(3) use the common visual identity to be provided by the Commission (see section 11 below);

(4) commit to procure (or equivalent procedure) the necessary equipment and related installation services, where required in accordance with applicable law and to install the Wi-Fi access points in the areas where no similar offers of free Wi-Fi connectivity already exist.

 

 

 

The WiFi4EU voucher shall be used to finance any one of the following actions:

• The setting up of a new public WiFi network

• The upgrade of an existing public WiFi network

• The extension of an existing public WiFi network.

 

6.2.1 Registration and authentication system requirements

The registration and authentication system requirements shall be implemented following a two –phase approach. Under Phase I, the registration and authentication system relies on a local captive portal, whereas under Phase II the registration and authentication system will be provided by a centralised EU level platform. Phase I is applicable until the beneficiary receives a notification that Phase II has been activated. Once notified, the beneficiary will have the obligation pursuant to Article 9 of the model grant agreement, to adjust its registration and authentication system within the timeframe that will be indicated in the notification, in accordance with the requirements set out under Article 6.2.1.2.

6.2.1.1 Phase I

The registration, authentication, authorisation and accounting of users is the responsibility of each beneficiary in compliance with EU and national law and pursuant to the following conditions.

The beneficiary shall ensure compliance with the following requirements:

• The WiFi4EU network shall only use an SSID called ‘WiFi4EU’. The beneficiary is allowed to use an additional SSID provided it is limited to internal use of the beneficiary.

• The WiFi4EU network with WiFi4EU SSID shall use an HTTPS captive portal for the interface with the users.

The captive portal shall establish a period for automatic recognition of previously connected users, so that the captive portal is not shown again at reconnection. This period shall be automatically reset every day at 00:00 or at least be set up for a maximum of 12 hours.

• The domain name associated with the https captive portal shall be classic (non-IDN), consisting of characters a to z, digits 0 through 9, hyphen (-).

• Visual identity: the captive portal shall include the WiFi4EU visual identity.

• The captive portal shall embed a tracking snippet for the Agency to be able to remotely monitor the WiFi4EU network.

The snippet installation guideline is available at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef-telecom/wifi4eu The snippet will not collect any personal data. It will serve to count the number of users connecting to the WiFi4EU network, load the visual identity of WiFi4EU and check that it is displayed properly.

The beneficiary is entitled to set up distinct WiFi4EU networks funded by the same voucher, each of them with a different domain name and a different captive portal. In this case the beneficiary shall ensure that the SSID to be broadcasted in all of them is ‘WiFi4EU’. The obligation pursuant to Article 9 of the model grant agreement to maintain the WiFi4EU network active for a period of 3 years after the verification by the Agency applies to all such WiFi4EU networks funded by the same voucher.

6.2.1.2 Phase II

At a later stage, a platform will be set up at EU level to centralise the registration and authentication of WiFi4EU users and will have the possibility of evolving into a federated architecture.

Pursuant to Article 9 of the model grant agreement, once the centralised platform is operational, the beneficiary will be expected to reconfigure the WiFi4EU network in order to connect them to the centralized platform based on the following requirements:

 The local WiFi4EU network with WiFi4EU SSID shall be reconfigured to connect it to a centralised HTTPS captive portal provided by the centralised platform. The registration and authentication of users shall then be done through the centralised platform.

 A protected WiFi4EU SSID shall be set up, be configured to use Hotspot 2.0 and pointed to a central RADIUS server that will be provided by the centralised platform. The registration and authentication of the users shall then be done via the centralised platform.

 The configuration of the Access Points (“Aps”) shall enable, for this protected SSID, the centralised platform to differentiate the authentication requests coming from each AP within the same WiFi4EU network.

 

6.2.2 Wi-Fi equipment requirements:

The beneficiary shall install a number of Access Points reflecting the value of the voucher in their market. In any event it shall install at a minimum the following number, depending on the combination of indoor and outdoor Access Points:

 

(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)

 

The beneficiary shall ensure that each Access Point:

• Supports concurrent dual-band (2,4Ghz – 5Ghz) use

• Has a support cycle superior to 5 years

• Has a minimum time between failure (MTBF) of at least 5 years

• Has a dedicated and centralised single point of management

• Supports IEEE 802.1x;

• Complies with IEEE 802.11ac Wave I

• Supports IEEE 802.11r

• Supports IEEE 802.11k

• Supports IEEE 802.11v

• Is able to handle at least 50 concurrent users without performance degradation

• Has at least 2x2 multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO)

• Complies with Hotspot 2.0 (Passpoint Wi-Fi Alliance certification programme).

 

6.2.3 Quality of service

In order to ensure that the funded WiFi4EU network is capable of providing a high quality user experience, the beneficiary shall subscribe to the highest speed available mass-market Internet connection in the area and in any event to one offering at least 30 Mbps download. The beneficiary shall also ensure that this backhaul speed is at least equivalent to that – if any – which is used by the beneficiary for its internal connectivity needs.

 

7. Selection PROCESS

Vouchers will be allocated on a "first come, first served" basis, using the timestamp of the successful submission of the application as recorded in the WiFi4EU Portal. In addition, in order to ensure a balanced geographical distribution of the financing, the following criteria will be used in the selection of the applications:

1. A minimum of 15 vouchers per Member State and EEA country (Iceland and Norway) will be allocated in this call for applications, provided sufficient applications are received from these countries.

2. The total number of vouchers per Member State and EEA country (Iceland and Norway) should not exceed 8% of the call budget will be awarded.

 

A reserve list per eligible country will be established. Should budget become available, the above-mentioned criteria will be respected for the selection from the reserve list. The reserve list will only be valid for this call and applicants on the reserve list will be informed of the date until which the reserve list will be valid.

 

8. Compliance with EU law

In accordance with Article 23 of the CEF Regulation, only actions in conformity with EU law shall be financed.

 

 

9. Financial provisions

9.1 General principles

 

9.1.1 Other sources of financing

Pursuant to Article 129 of the Financial Regulation, an action may only receive one grant from the EU budget. Under no circumstances will the same costs be financed twice by the EU budget.

 

9.1.2 Non-retroactivity

Pursuant to Article 130 of the Financial Regulation, no grants may be awarded retrospectively for actions that will have already been completed by the date of entry into force of the grant agreement.

 

9.2 Funding form

9.2.1 Form of the grant

Grants to be awarded further to this call for applications will take the form of a lump sum contribution of € 15,000 per beneficiary.

 

9.2.2 Duration of the action

The start date of the action is the date of entry into force of the grant agreement and its duration is for a maximum of 18 months.

 

9.3 Payment arrangements

According to the terms of the grant agreement, the payment of the lump sum will be made to the Wi-Fi installation company once the installation has been confirmed as operational in accordance with the grant agreement. The payment will be made as soon as possible within a maximum of 60 days to the bank account provided in the WiFi4EU Portal by the Wi-Fi installation company. Please note that a valid and readable bank statement or equivalent document will have to be uploaded by the Wi-Fi installation company.

 

Failure by the beneficiary to:

• comply with the obligation to keep the Wi-Fi installation active for a period of three years

• migrate to the centralised EU-level authentication platform

may lead to the recovery of the lump sum amount from the beneficiary.

The Agency will not intervene in the contracting relations of the beneficiary with the Wi-Fi installation company.

 

10. Grant Agreement

The successful municipality will be invited by INEA to sign a grant agreement drawn up in euro and detailing the funding conditions. The standard model grant agreement, which is available in all EU official languages, is not negotiable and must be signed in the language used in the application.

 

The legal representative (mayor/head of municipality) shall sign the grant agreement. In case the legal representative wishes to appoint another person to sign it, the following documents must be uploaded to the WiFi4EU Portal, at the latest prior to the grant agreement signature:  

1. Legal ID/passport of the authorised person

2. Authorised person form  

Please note that the authorised signatory will have to use his/her own EU Login in order to sign the grant agreement.

 

11. Publicity

Rules regarding the visual identity to respect for publicity actions by beneficiaries in regards to the WiFi4EU initiative can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/policies/wifi4eu-free-wi-fi-europeans.

 

12. Information for applicants & submission procedure

12.1 Information for applicants

Practical information on this call for applications (i.e. model grant agreement, amended 2017 CEF Telecom Work Programme, relevant legislation) is available on the WiFi4EU page of the INEA website: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef-telecom/wifi4eu.

 

Applicants are recommended to consult this website, as well as INEA's Twitter feed (@inea_eu) regularly until the deadline for submission of applications.

All questions related to this call must be addressed to the call Helpdesk, accessible via the WiFi4EU Portal. A response will be provided by the Helpdesk directly to the e-mail address from which the question was sent.

 

Answers based on recurring submitted questions may be published in the FAQ list available on the Digital Single Market website and also accessible via the call webpage.  

 

12.2 Submission procedure

Applications can only be submitted electronically, provided that the required documents are uploaded to the WiFi4EU Portal using the EU Login account used for the registration of the municipality in the Portal. Furthermore, applications must be submitted before the call deadline: Friday, 15 June 2018 at 17:00.00 CEST (Brussels time). Applications in all official EU languages will be accepted.

See also sections 5 and 6 above regarding the required provision of supporting documents.

Applicants will be informed about the results of the selection process in due time.

 

 

13. Processing of personal data

The reply to any call for applications involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name and address) via the WiFi4EU Portal. Such data will be processed pursuant to applicable legislation.

 

Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested will be processed solely for the purpose of allocation of the award of vouchers in accordance with the call for applications and in case of successful applications, for the purpose of grant management. Personal data included in the application (name, surname, e-mail address, data subject position in the organisation, IDs/passport) will be processed within the limits set forth by Regulation 45/2001 and on a need to know basis.

 

The data controller is DG CONNECT.

Details concerning the processing of an applicant's personal data are available in the privacy statement available on the home page of the Wifi4EU Portal.

 

An applicant's personal data (e.g. name, address, legal form and name of the persons with powers of representation) may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES) established by the Commission, should the beneficiary be in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106(1) and 107 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, as amended by Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 2015/1929 (OJ L 286, 30.10.2015, p. 1).

 

For more information on EDES (including the grounds for being registered in the database), please see:

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/explained/management/protecting/protect_en.cfm

and the privacy statement at:

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/library/explained/management/protecting/privacy_statement_edes_en.pdf

Applicants are informed that, to ensure that the EU’s financial interests are protected, their personal data may be communicated to internal audit services, the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors, the body specialising in financial irregularities (Financial Irregularities Panel) or the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

 

 



Public link:   Only for registered users


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