Digital economy is a key ingredient for stimulating technological innovation and services, and Internet-based applications and technologies will continue to be an essential driver of productivity growth. Digital networks enabling high-speed internet access have a positive impact on long-term GDP growth and will contribute an estimated 2.1 million additional jobs in the EU between 2006 and 2015. Therefore, investing in digital economy is necessary to support Europe’s growing data traffic and is also one of the main goals of the EU’s Digital Agenda. Increasingly, every business is a digital business. So high-speed internet, mobile networks and cloud computing are priority areas for the Bank.
Focus on Digital economy
Digital economy is related to various areas in the development of ICT infrastructures, equipment, services and applications across industries. Our financing to projects in the area of ICT and e-economy can be found in the following areas:
Mobile networks include the development of high speed broadband 3G (UMTS) and 4G (LTE) access networks.
Fixed broadband access networks
Fixed broadband networks entail the development of fixed network infrastructure in terms of cable and fibre to home / building / cabinet (FTTH/B/C) networks.
Transmission networks enable national or international connectivity through high capacity fibre optic cables or satellites. Outside the EU, these projects typically entail supporting the development of submarine cables, providing developing countries with international connectivity and therefore enabling broader availability and better quality Internet services. The transmission networks also include broadcasting the recent switchover to digital terrestrial TV (DTV).
ICT application and services
This area entails the support of ICT application across industries such as automotive, electricity and healthcare. In turn, ICT services include supporting the development of various, typically public sector services such as e-government, e-health and e-business enabled by ICT infrastructures. It therefore also includes investments in datacenter facilities and associated hosted services such as cloud.
RDI in ICT infrastructure, equipment and in semiconductor industry
We are also involved in supporting research and development across the ICT domain. This also includes investments in the manufacturing of handsets, network equipment, software, audio-visual equipment, displays (e.g. LCD) and chip manufacturing (nano-microelectronics). Also, RDI activities include the research and development of broadband infrastructures, such as next generation networks and satellites.
At the EIB we are working to support the Digital Agenda by providing finance and technical expertise for projects which further these ambitions. Increasingly, every business is a digital business so broadband networks, software development and telecom services are priority areas for the Bank.
The broadband company enet is seeking opportunities to link Ireland’s small rural businesses to the internet, allowing them to remain competitive and become a source of growth for rural communities. We backed the innovative young company with a EUR 12 million loan to support their development and ambitious projects.
We signed a EUR 110 million loan to support the development of new wireless hearing devices and research into more effective acoustic implants by global leader William Demant. The loan will help the company to strengthen the development of innovative low power radio technology solutions and improve the quality of life for millions of hard of hearing people.
Enhancing mobile and fixed broadband service MaltaWe seek to give a boost to the high-speed mobile broadband network in Malta with a EUR 30m loan to Telecom Malta. The loan is set to bring state-of-the-art quadruple play (fixed, mobile, data and TV) services to customers across the island.
Innovative businesses often require innovative financing solutions to support their development. We have a wide range of products to support public and private investments, offering flexibility, expertise and creativity to get projects off the ground