On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 a consultation session was organised by MEUSAC in conjunction with the Department for Local Government (DLG) and the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) to inform Local Councils about the proposal for a regulation issued by the European Commission.
Mr Robert Tabone from DLG gave a detailed presentation on the proposal for a regulation published by the European Commission, while Mr Stephen Muscat gave a detailed presentation on the current free Wi-Fi service across Malta.
The internet and digital connectivity is transforming private lives and professional practices inside and beyond the Union, there is a need to ensure that the general public is encouraged to seize the opportunities that this transformation offers. For this reason, one of the Commission's strategic aims for the Union to be achieved by 2025 is for sites at which public services are provided, such as public administrations, libraries and hospitals to be equipped with Gigabit internet connections.
The proposed intervention complements the new legislative concept of universal service in the proposal for a European Electronic Communications Code, whereby every EU citizen shall have the right to be connected: the right to a functional internet connection, at least at a fixed location, that is affordable and allows full engagement with the digital economy and society.
The Commision proposal will give the possibility to all interested local authorities to offer free Wi-Fi connections to any citizen, for example, in and around public buildings, health centres, parks or squares.
Furthermore funding to local public authorities for access points in the centres of local public life, including outdoor spaces accessible to the general public, will be prioritised in the first phase of the intervention.
To ensure that local communities with limited resources can also experience these benefits of participation in the Digital Single Market, support under this measure should be available for up to 100% of the eligible costs, without prejudice to the principle of co-financing.
This proposal will be discussed during the upcoming Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.