In this digital age of technology, internet access is essential – and according to this Ireland-based network security company, millions more companies and communities will have Wifi in the coming year.

This exciting new infographic released by Exigent Networks shows that free public Wifi access in Europe is expected to reach 108.7 million people by 2018 – which is 550% more than five years ago. After all, nine of the ten fastest growing countries providing public Wifi are European.

Italy is in the lead with 16,407% growth, amounting to a projected 8.24 million public hotspots by 2018. This figure equals out to about one Wifi hotspot per eight Italian citizens.

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The only non-European country leading in public Wifi growth is Russia, showing 4,365% growth (1 hotspot per 19 people).

The European Union is planning to introduce free Wifi to every one of their municipalities by 2020, costing about $128 million. Every European household is projected to achieve a minimum download speed of at least 100 megabytes per second, while hospitals and public service spaces are to achieve an uploading and downloading speed of 1 gigabyte per second.

The EU also plans to deploy continent-wide 5G network access by 2025.

“We need to work for a Europe that empowers our citizens and our economy,” says Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. “Today, both have gone digital. Digital technologies and digital communications are permeating every aspect of life. All they require is access to high-speed internet. We need to be connected. Our economy needs it. People need it.”

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