Free Wi-Fi “very good news for Galway”, says Cllr Hoare

A massive expansion of free Wi-Fi is set to be rolled out across the city in the coming weeks, 12 Wi-Fi Access Points are to be put in place after the city council secured EU funding.

The funding comes in the form of ‘vouchers’, valued at €15,000 each.

According to the European Commission, Ireland was awarded 114 WiFi4EU ‘vouchers’, of which the GCC applied for four (€60,000 worth); the maximum allocation.

This scheme forms part of an initiative led by the European Union that promotes free Wi-Fi in public places.

Photo by Cllr Eddie Hoare

Cllr Eddie Hoare said that “they haven’t given an exact list to us as councillors, but it will be a number of public spaces. Such as public parks, community centres, and public areas around the city centre, and also the West and East parts of the city. We’ve been told that, I think, 12 locations have been selected and will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.”

Elaine Naughton, Head of Information Technology at the GCC, said, “we are currently completing the installation and testing of Galway’s WiFi4EU Access Points around the city with our Wi-Fi partners Magnet Networks. These will supplement the existing free Wi-Fi in the city centre, extending to key public areas with high footfall.”

The GCC is not the first local authority to request funding for this project, the Cork County Council secured four ‘vouchers’ in 2019, but is now at risk of losing their funding if they don’t complete the Wi-Fi initiative before August.

When asked if he anticipated any similar complications, Cllr Hoare said, “I would be hopeful that there would be sufficient resources in the Galway City Council to roll out this project. The chief executive has given us assurances that he would expect this rollout to happen here in Galway and for it to be successful. No deadlines, but it’s expected in the coming weeks that the rollout will begin.”

There is also concern whether the data and information the public shares will be safe and protected in these Wi-Fi Access Points.

“I understand it’s going to be monitored by a service provider (Magnet Networks). There are sufficient security systems in place to make sure that all user’s information and data is protected and not abused,” said Cllr Hoare.

The GCC is set to reveal more information in the next two weeks. For more information, visit …

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