Towards a free, high-quality WiFi network
Barcelona City Council has signed an institutional declaration to guarantee access to a free, high-quality WiFi network. The declaration is backed by the BComú, CiU, ERC and PSC political party groups and sets out the limitations found in current State and EU legislation, while calling on the competent bodies to push ahead with the relevant legal processes so they can provide a free WiFi service with a good connection speed.
Representatives from the City Council’s four political party groups met up this Tuesday at noon, making a joint appearance in support of the declaration, which has received backing from Localret, a consortium that brings together 800 municipalities to further the information society. The text was presented to the Economy and Treasury Commission this Tuesday afternoon.
The First Deputy Mayor, Gerardo Pisarello, pointed out that: “Access to the Internet is not an option but a basic right, a key tool as regards the Government, for finding work and carrying out social interactions. And there are people who are unable to afford that.” He then added that: “Barcelona is doing its homework and is well connected, but we are coming across limitations and obsolete regulations that are standing in the way of making progress in the provision of this basic service.”
The Deputy Chair of Localret, Andreu Francisco, who is also the Mayor of Alella, expressed his support for this consortium, whose mission is to provide municipalities and city residents with services for expanding telecommunication infrastructures and ensure that access to the information society becomes a reality. “We are standing by the Barcelona City Council, the capital, supporting them and we aim to stand together to ensure access to the Internet under good conditions and has a decent connection speed.”
The CiU political party group Councillor Sònia Recasens highlighted the importance of the initiatives of previous municipal governments, which had enabled the foundation for this infrastructure to be established throughout the city. She recalled initiatives such as the Mobile World Congress and Smart City, pointing out that: “These are initiatives that lay the foundations for adequate infrastructure which can help us in the fight against the scourge that is the digital divide.”
Speaking on behalf of the ERC political party group, Councillor Trini Capdevila stated that: “Barcelona needs to be a 21st century city, not the 20th, which is why we have to call on the Central Government to stop “putting obstacles in the way of accessing free, high-quality WiFi”.
As for the PSC political party group, Carmen Andrés, the Councillor for Children, Youth and Elderly People, highlighted that: “The Internet today is a natural communication and work tool.” According to her, guaranteeing its access “is an opportunity for collectives such as young people and the vulnerable, who need to use this tool to access services and aid from the Government”.