Proximus acquires a EUR 400 million loan from the European Investment Bank for the transformation of its fixed network
- EIB funding will support Proximus in the accelerating deployment of a Gigabit network of the future, bringing Fiber to 85% of businesses and to the centers of cities and communes in Belgium
- Financing high-performance telecommunications infrastructures to open the way to smart growth and to economic development is an EIB priority objective.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Proximus S.A. have reached an agreement on a EUR 400m loan granted to Proximus for the further roll-out and upgrading of its fixed broadband infrastructure in Belgium, mainly in the acceleration of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and Fiber-to-the-Business (FTTB).
In the framework of its Fiber for Belgium project, Proximus announced its intention to invest EUR 3 billion over 10 years to accelerate the roll-out of Fiber in Belgium, with the ambition to bring a future-proof next generation network to the customers. The objective is to reach 85% of businesses and bring Fiber to the centers of cities and communes in Belgium. In February 2018, more than 6,000 enterprises were already connected to Fiber, while a total of 24 cities and communes are in roll-out or planned for short-term implementation.
At the signing, EIB Director General Jean-Christophe Laloux said: “We are pleased to support Proximus in this unprecedented investment to roll out their fiber-optic network across Belgium. This investment will significantly enhance access by both residential and business users to ultra-high-speed broadband, this is key today – for citizens and companies alike – to reap the benefits of the digital single market.”
Proximus’ CEO Dominique Leroy stressed the importance of the new credit line for the group: “Through the EIB loan, we have gained a cost-effective long-term, reliable financing partner for one of our most important strategic projects.”
Proximus’ CFO Sandrine Dufour: “In addition, the cooperation with the EIB will help to optimise our capital structure by lengthening the average duration of our debt portfolio as well as further diversifying our funding sources at attractive interest rates”.
The European Investment Bank is supporting the roll-out of high-speed Internet in the context of the overarching "Digital Agenda for Europe 2020" strategy, which aims to promote smart growth and develop a knowledge and innovation-based economy. A key element of this Agenda consists of high-performance high-speed networks, ensuring the reliable and rapid transfer of constantly growing data volumes, including in the mobile sector. The steady growth of mobile applications and the resulting data traffic in Europe call for continuous improvement of networks with the latest mobile technology to achieve universal access to high-speed broadband services.