At least eight municipalities that had applied for a Wi-Fi grant from the European Union have returned the money to the EU. The required investment from the municipality often turns out to be larger than expected, writes Follow the Money ( FTM ) on Monday based on its own research.
A total of 48 municipalities applied for vouchers via the WiFi4EU program, which offers villages and towns in Europe 15,000 euros to set up a free Wi-Fi hotspot. But according to FTM , civil servants have not sufficiently studied the expected investment from the municipality in advance.
The voucher can only be redeemed at companies that install wifi hotspots. The costs of the subscription and maintenance are for the municipality, which must keep the network up and running for at least three years. The estimated costs are between 1,320 euros and 10,000 euros per year.
According to FTM , the municipalities of Aalten, Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, Heusden, Lisse, Hulst, Hilvarenbeek, Marum and Reusel-De Mierden have returned the vouchers. The vouchers were made available to the first eight thousand European municipalities who applied and met the requirements.
In 2017, the Netherlands voted against setting up the fund, which provides a total of 120 million euros in subsidies. The vouchers were awarded in December and May.