Users surfing the net
All EU member states will have access to free Wi-Fi in public areas in the next four yearsIan Gavan/Getty Images

The European Commission is aiming to provide free Wi-Fi in public spaces across its member states within four years. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who announced the goal in his annual state of the union address, also said at least one city in each EU country would have a 5G mobile network by 2020.

"Everyone benefiting from connectivity means that it should not matter where you live or how much you earn," said Juncker. "So, we propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020."

According to a fact-sheet made especially for this plan, public areas would include parks, squares, libraries and public buildings. The budget for the initiative is a maximum of €120m (£102m, $135m) to install the necessary equipment. This means that bodies have to bear the burden of subscription costs, maintenance and other expenses.

The announcement of yet another telecom goal comes as European officials struggle to deliver an earlier promise to abolish mobile roaming fees. In addition, these pledges will most likely not apply to the UK as it would have quit the EU by then.

Apart from this, the commission also listed some additional goals set for a 2025 deadline:

  • A minimum download speed of 100Mbps for all European households
  • Minimum download and upload speeds of 1Gbps for all hospitals, administrations and other public services reliant on digital technologies
  • Uninterrupted 5G access for all major roads and railway networks