EIB to invest in superfast internet for Dutch Municipalities

EIB to invest in superfast internet for Dutch Municipalities

The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide EUR 125m to Reggefiber for expansion of the company’s optical fibre network to an additional 50 municipalities across the Netherlands.

Six commercial banks provide an additional EUR 125m, leading to a total facility size of EUR 250m. The loan from Europe’s long-term lending institution will be used to construct a dedicated ultra-high-speed Fiber to the Home (“FttH”) network, with possible up and download speeds of up to 1Gb/s, open for access by all operators.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to support Reggefiber’s engagement to increase coverage of ultra-high speed broadband Internet access across the Netherlands and their contribution to the Digital Agenda for Europe. This new facility, together with the previous EIB facility for Reggefiber, enables more than a million households to have access to the fibre optic network and benefit from Internet speeds of up to 1Gb/s and multi-room interactive HDTV.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President for the Netherlands.

”Reggefiber highly appreciates the contribution of EIB in this 10-year project finance facility.” said Jan van Rooijen, Reggefiber Financial Director. “Reggefiber currently builds FttH to more than 300,000 homes per year and the involvement of the European Investment Bank in close cooperation with ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, ING, Rabobank and RBS enhances the scale of our activities”, he added.

Neelie Kroes Vice President of the European Commission, Commissioner for the Digital Agenda stated: “Investments from the European Investment Bank play a vital role in helping Europe become a more connected, competitive continent. Fibre broadband can transform the digital life of a business or school or family. It is great to see Reggefiber offering another 500,000 Dutch families these opportunities. My hope is to support more projects like this using the proposed Connecting Europe Facility.”

Reggefiber is one of the first companies in Europe to manage a large scale roll-out of FttH networks. This project will increase broadband Internet speeds and coverage in the Netherlands and the roll-out to these specific 50 municipalities is expected to be completed by 2015.

Reggefiber’s open network model allows end-customers to sign up for broadband services through different providers. In 2010 the European Investment Bank provided EUR 142.5m for the initial roll out of Reggefiber services to 33 Dutch municipalities as part of a total facility of EUR 285m.

Enabling investment in ultra-fast internet access to foster growth based on digital innovation is a top priority for the European Investment Bank. Investment in superfast internet infrastructure is recognised as being able to stimulate economic development and unlock productivity. In 2011, the EIB invested some EUR 4 billion in this field within the European Union.

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