Broadband for rural areas: financed by the EIB and WIBank

21-12-2012 — / — The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a EUR 80m loan to Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturbank Hessen (WIBank) for the roll-out of broadband services. The promotional bank of the Federal State of Hessen will on-lend the funds to public and private-sector projects that will develop and expand the Next Generation Network infrastructure. The corresponding contract was signed today in Frankfurt.

Through this global loan, the EIB is assisting a joint promotional programme of the WIBank and the Federal State of Hessen, aimed at installing and expanding high-speed networks that will eventually result in downloading speeds of at least 50 megabits per second. By end-2014, at least 75% of households in Hessen are expected to be connected to broadband networks of this calibre. This promotional programme of WIBank and the Federal State focuses in particular on the rural areas of Hessen where the roll-out of high-speed Internet is often not feasible without appropriate support measures.

For the EIB, this loan falls within the wider context of the Europa 2020 Strategy to promote smart growth and develop a knowledge and innovation-based economy. A key element is the “Digital Agenda for Europe” initiative, since efficient high-speed networks are vital for the reliable and rapid transfer of constantly growing data volumes. Outside of the main urban centres, however, there is often still a great deal of catching-up to do.

“The Federal State of Hessen has been steadily forging ahead with the roll-out of high-speed networks for several years now.  It is demonstrating on a regional level what counts for the whole of Europe:   the reliable and rapid transfer of large volumes of data now also serves as a barometer for competitiveness. The development of high-performance networks is one of the EIB’s main objectives. We are therefore particularly pleased to be able to finance such projects with our long-standing partner WIBank”, said Wilhem Molterer, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank whose responsibilities include financing operations in Germany.

“For WIBank, the roll-out of broadband services in rural areas is a critical building block in ensuring and consolidating the regions’ sustainability”, stated Eckhard Hassebrock, CEO of WIBank. “The promotion of high-speed Internet combines the strategic objectives for the development of the regional economy and infrastructure with the challenges presented by Hessen’s demographic trends. We welcome the opportunity, also in this sector, to enter into a strategic alliance with the EIB for our common benefit.”


Eva Henkel
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Press Office
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