The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 40 million to Telekom Slovenije, a state-owned telecommunications operator in Slovenia. This is the first tranche of a EUR 100 million loan approved by the Bank to finance nationwide upgrading of the fixed line telecommunications network in Slovenia in order to modernise the existing physical copper and fibre network, the backbone transmission systems and operational support systems.
The loan covering the remaining EUR 60 million will be signed in August. It will be the first operation in Slovenia on a corporate risk basis without a bank guarantee. This reflects the new policy orientation of the EIB to accept a higher lending risk and provide better access to long-term finance on favourable terms in order to implement priority projects in the areas of research, development and innovation dissemination.
This EIB loan will also finance the roll-out of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology to enable the provision of advanced broadband services. Broadband will provide high-speed and higher-quality telecommunications services. It is expected to be a major contributor to productivity growth in the information and communications technology sector. By improving the access to modern information and communications technology networks, the project will support the EIB’s priority of promoting investment that leads to the establishment of a knowledge-based society and contribute to the development of an “information society” in Europe. This effort is in line with the Lisbon Strategy adopted by the EU Heads of State or Government in 2000.
The EIB, the European Union’s long-term financing institution, finances economically viable investment projects that contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. EIB lending in Slovenia, including the current loan, totals EUR 2.3 billion since 1991. EIB loans supporting telecoms infrastructure modernisation in Slovenia account for some 20% of the total lending in the country.