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WiFi4EU stories: An interview with Peter Keaveney, Chairperson of Galway County Council, Ireland

As one of the most rural counties in Ireland, Galway County wants to be well equipped to harness the opportunities that technological change is bringing and to remain an attractive place to live, work and visit. Read all about their involvement in the WiFi4EU initiative and the benefits brought about to its citizens with a more efficient connectivity.

Galway County Council (Ireland) officially launched its first WiFi4EU network on 30th July 2021, after having been awarded four 15,000 vouchers from the WiFi4EU initiativethe first in call one and the remaining three under call two. A total of 40 WiFi4EU access points were installed in a number of villages and towns around the county, including in one of the islands off the coast of Galway.  

For the county, the spirit of the WiFi4EU network deployment is to ensure that as many areas as possible can be covered by free Wi-Fi connectivity. “The provision of public Wi-Fi is a key deliverable under our Digital Strategy,” said Peter Keaveney, Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) of the Galway County Council. It is important that in this scope, all citizens are included, he added. Not only that digital and better connectivity are promoted, but that both remain inclusive. 

From left to right: Noel Madden, Broadband Officer Galway County Council, Peter Keaveney, Chairperson of Galway County Council, and Derek Pender, Director of Services (Acting), Infrastructure and Operations Unit - Galway County Council.

In its Digital Strategy, Galway County also set out a plan to reinforce the current e-service delivery by digitizing more of its current services and enhancing the way citizens interact with the Council. The idea is to have services that are available 24/7 for activities of different sorts: from transactions, to issue reporting, receiving live information and submitting applications. In this context, the need for public Wi-Fi is even more essential. 

The deployment and implementation of the Commission-lead WiFi4EU initiative in Galway County has marked an important step in making citizens feel closer to the EU. Their expectations of free connectivity were met thanks to a project of collaboration between different European territories, municipalities, agencies and funding.