New York City’s $200 million LinkNYC program is tasked with replacing pay phone stalls with over 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots while still letting users make phone calls — for free, even!

The deployment has gone on for more than two years now, but its intermediate success has sprouted a London-based spin-off effort, LinkUK, which should roll out starting in the Camden section of town this year. The ultimate goal? 17,500 spots.

It’s somewhat ironic that we’re coming away from the United Kingdom to the European Union at this point, but if the collective does not want to get left behind, it’ll have to invest. And the European Commission will do so with a €120 million push for WiFi4EU. The hope is that by 2020, new hotspots will cover between 6,000 and 8,000 illustrious, but under-connected village and town squares.

“The WiFi4EU initiative will improve connectivity in particular where access to the internet is limited,” said commission Vice President Andrus Ansip, who oversees the Digital Single Market.

Municipalities will apply for coupons to cover the cost of equipment and setup while a special EU authority will foot the bill to maintain the connections.

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