The roll out of a very high speed optical fibre network in the Netherlands received a significant boost today with the agreement of a EUR 285m bank loan for open access network provider Reggefiber. The loan from the European Investment Bank, the European Union’s long-term lending institution, and five commercial banks facilitates the further rollout of next generation fibre optic broadband services. The investment in the rollout of the network, with up and download speeds of more than 100 megabits-per-second, is in line with the EU’s goal to increase high-speed Internet access to half of all households by 2020.

Reggefiber’s open network model makes it possible for different telecom operators and service providers to bring high speed broadband applications and multi-room HD digital TV to 1.1 – 1.3 million homes across the country by 2012.

“The European Investment Bank recognises the importance of this long term investment for the Netherlands as a knowledge economy. Development of next generation broadband, following the Digital Agenda objectives in Europe’s 2020 strategy will help Europe maintain its competitiveness and foster technological innovation. The Reggefiber open network model will encourage existing and new telecom providers to access the Fiber-to-the-Home network.” said Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending operations in the Netherlands.

"This 10-year loan is crucial for Reggefiber to reach its ambitions and we greatly appreciate the support of the European Investment Bank for half of the funding." said Jan van Rooijen, Reggefiber Financial Director. "Involvement of the European Investment Bank in close cooperation with ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Friesland Bank, ING and RBS enhances the scale of Fiber-to-the-home we can provide in the Netherlands”, he added.

“Providing consumers and businesses with some of the fastest broadband speeds in the world sets the pace for European economic growth based on digital innovation. The open model will encourage greater competition in the Dutch broadband market. It is also an excellent example of how the EIB and the Commission can work effectively together to stimulate private sector investment in areas of strategic importance for Europe's future.“ highlighted Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President responsible for the Digital Agenda.

In 2009, the European Investment Bank lent more than EUR 18bn for investment in the digital and knowledge economy, including education, research & development and innovation. This contributes to European competitiveness and long-term economic growth by accelerating research and development, and investing in infrastructure supporting expansion of the digital economy. Previous broadband projects supported by the European investment Bank include schemes enhancing high-speed internet access across Europe, in Turkey and Brazil.

Notes for Editors :
  • The European Investment Bank is the European Union’s long-term financing institution, and provides long-term finance for capital projects promoting European economic objectives.
  • Since 2000 the European Investment Bank has provided EUR 8.4 billion for projects in the Netherlands. In 2009 alone the Bank lent EUR 1.8 billion for energy, transport, water, research and economic development projects with, among others, the Port of Rotterdam, Philips, Gasunie, Tennet, ING and Rabobank.
  • Reggefiber is a joint venture owned by KPN (41%) and investment vehicle Reggeborgh (59%) that builds and operates Fibre to the Home networks in the Netherlands. Reggefiber deploys an open access network model which allows telecom service providers to deliver fibre based services directly into houses. By means of its unique approach in which it focuses on regional demand bundling and providing excellent execution, Reggefiber has been very successful in connecting a number of service providers to its network. Reggefiber has a medium term ambition to connect 30% to 60% of all Dutch households to its fiber network.