The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term financing institution of the European Union (EU), announces a loan for EUR 210 million (ESP 35 billion)(1) to Madritel Comunicaciones S.A., for construction of its cable telecommunications network in the Madrid region.

The Madritel project will provide the region with state-of-the-art multimedia telecoms services, including high-speed access to the Internet, data transmission, digital television and fixed telephony. This project is one of the first of its kind to be carried out in Spain. Madritel was awarded in 1998 the cable telecommunications franchise covering the entire Madrid region, which allows it to supply the full range of multimedia services, including telephony.

The Madritel network will reach some 2 million residential households and provide the region's business customers, in particular smaller firms, with specialist telecoms services. The project will foster economic development and stimulate job creation throughout the Madrid area, especially in new technology sectors.

The EIB was created in 1958 by the founding treaty of the European Economic Community, the Treaty of Rome. It was set up to contribute to the integrated and balanced development of the Member States, as well as to their economic and social cohesion, by providing long-term finance for capital investment fulfilling EU objectives.Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB raises the resources for its lending operations on the capital markets, where its bond issues are consistently rated AAA.

(1) EUR 1 = 166.386 ESP; 0.613400 GBP.