The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide an initial investment of EUR 12 million to support expansion of next generation fibre optic telecom infrastructure across Ireland by enet, an open access network operator owned by Granahan McCourt Capital and partners. The European Investment Bank’s agreement with enet represents its first engagement in Ireland under a new programme, Innovfin, aimed at streamlining lending for innovation.
The European Investment Bank support will allow enet to develop next generation telecoms infrastructure over the coming years. This builds on enet’s current investment programme for the delivery of ‘Fibre to the Business’ (FTTB) networks in a number of Irish towns and cities, including Claremorris, Loughrea, Ardee and Kilkenny. Since the acquisition of enet by specialist telecommunications and media investment firm Granahan McCourt Capital in September 2013, the company has expanded its geographical reach and operations by investing its own funds in telecom infrastructure that complement the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) which it already manages on behalf of the Irish State.
Mr. Alex White T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, commented: “I am encouraged by the EIB’s support for enet and its acknowledgement of the importance of fast reliable broadband. Since being appointed to operate the 94 MANs on behalf of the State, enet has helped to support job creation and investment throughout Ireland by creating a carrier-neutral network. The company has also shown real commitment to developing broadband for businesses through its recent projects in Claremorris, Loughrea, Ardee and Kilkenny. Delivering high quality broadband to every home and business in Ireland is a key priority for Government and this commercial investment will complement existing assets owned by the State, as well as providing competitive high quality offerings in the areas it serves.”
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President, added: “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 we are pleased to help enet expand their open access networks to 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.”
David C. McCourt, Chairman and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, as well as enet Chairman, says the EIB will be an excellent strategic partner for the company going forward: “This new loan is a significant validation in enet from the European Investment Bank. We are pleased to be the first company in Ireland to benefit from the EIB’s new Innovfin programme which in itself, demonstrates enet’s considerable potential to expand further within Ireland. It also acknowledges that enet is a well-positioned, well managed and high growth company with a clear focus on delivering high quality telecommunications services to organisations in every city, town and county in Ireland. The European Investment Bank also understands long-term infrastructure projects, which is critical for enet as it embarks on this important expansion journey in Ireland.”