Always eager to take a step towards innovation and digitalisation, Austria was among the first countries to fulfil the requirements and receive the WiFi4EU grant. The Austrian town of Wiesfleck was, in fact, the first municipality to receive the payment for a WiFi4EU network in 2019.
Austria, who won the maximum amount of vouchers in the third WiFi4EU call, has revealed a strong demand for expanding the offer of free connectivity at the local level, especially in small municipalities and rural areas. “The good thing about [WiFi4EU] is that this project directly impacted the people, especially in our community, where we never thought we could get such positive support from the European Union. It is incredibly enriching for our community”, said Christoph Krutzler, Mayor of Wiesfleck. According to Hannes Schernthaner, Mayor of Fusch, "A good and fast internet connection is essential in rural areas. With Wifi4EU we could open another door to the world, so to speak".
Between 2018 and 2020, the country has been awarded a total of 383 vouchers worth EUR 15,000 to install free public Wi-Fi hotspots across the territory. The beneficiaries, distributed homogenously among the nine Länder, are proudly installing the network funded by the European Commission, making sure it covers the main natural and cultural landscapes of the country. WiFi4EU will bring connectivity to the breath-taking mountains of Tyrol and Vorarlberg, filled with wooden chalets, snowy slopes and scenic hikes. Tourists and citizens will also be able to enjoy to the free Wi-Fi network around the stunning lakes and medieval castles in Salzburg and Carinthia. City hoppers will access the network in charming Graz, capital of Styria and Austria’s second largest city, while visitors looking for a relaxing holiday will be able to connect in the thermals baths and vineyards of Lower Austria. From the forests of Upper Austria to the vast plains of Burgenland, don’t miss the chance to browse for free and share your memories with friends and family thanks to WiFi4EU!