Many councils are missing out on a €120 million EU grant fund to help install Wi-Fi in towns and cities because of uncertainties over Brexit, claims Rob Clark, director, technologies & solutions development at Nuvias, EMEA distributor for technology leader Nokia.
“This means that resellers too could be missing out on a great opportunity to get into the urban Wi-Fi market,” said Clark. “While the UK remains in the EU, there is still time for local authorities to apply for a EURO 15,000 grant, but they need to do it as soon as possible. We are looking for a selected group of existing and new resellers to work with us to take advantage of this initiative and deliver Wi-Fi to UK councils.”
In Europe, enthusiasm for the grant, which comes in the form of a redeemable voucher, has been very high and many European municipalities have already registered their interest in receiving this financial help. The first release of vouchers is in May 2018 and there are four more staged releases over the coming two years. A lot of larger cities already have some form of free Wi-Fi for their citizens, so this grant could well be of interest to smaller and medium sized urban environments in the UK, as well as those larger cities which have not yet provided a Wi-Fi facility.
Nuvias can provide the necessary support for partners who may have limited technical skills in this area. The business is searching for a group of resellers to implement Nokia Wi-Fi solutions for this initiative, and there is also an opportunity for those partners to build up a mid-long-term smart city strategy, where Wi-Fi for citizens is just one element of the many solutions Nokia can provide to local authorities. The upfront investment is minimal, with attractive margins and discounts and the chance to become part of a select group of Nokia partners.