enet funding is first Irish project under new EIB Innovfin programme
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has completed an initial investment of EUR 12 million to support expansion of next generation fibre optic telecom infrastructure across Ireland by open-access network operator, enet.
The EIB Group, in collaboration with the Department of Finance, Enterprise Ireland and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, is hosting a seminar in Dublin today on the extensive range of financial support available to innovative and growing businesses in Ireland.
The €12m loan agreement, agreed with enet in December 2014, is the EIB’s first project in Ireland under a new programme, Innovfin, aimed at streamlining lending for innovation. The investment is supporting enet’s development of next generation telecoms infrastructure over the coming years. enet’s current investment programme includes the delivery of ‘Fibre to the Business’ (FTTB) networks in a number of Irish towns and cities, including Claremorris, Loughrea, Ardee and Kilkenny.
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President, stated, “Fast and reliable internet access is essential for modern business needs, communications and entertainment. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment in communications infrastructure across Europe and that’s why we’re supporting enet expansion of their open access networks to more cities and towns across Ireland. This marks the first use of new, dedicated finance for innovation in Ireland under the Innovfin programme and we look forward to similar strong proposals in the future.”
Conal Henry, enet CEO commented, “The European Investment Bank is an excellent strategic partner for us and their investment is a validation of enet’s ability to operate networks on a commercial basis while also delivering a defined policy benefit for the State. Naturally, we are delighted to be the first company in Ireland to benefit from the Innovfin programme but I’d expect other innovators to follow.”
Mr. Henry went on to say, “Crucially, the European Investment Bank understands the long-term nature of infrastructure projects, which is critical for enet and indeed the State as we embark on the National Broadband Plan. The need for high quality broadband throughout Ireland for both businesses and households is well known and we look forward to helping to deliver this to as many households as possible through our open-access fibre networks.”