The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide an initial investment of EUR 12 million to support expansion of next generation fibre optic telecom infrastructure across Ireland by enet, an open access network operator owned by Granahan McCourt Capital and partners. The European Investment Bank’s agreement with enet represents its first engagement in Ireland under a new programme, Innovfin, aimed at streamlining lending for innovation.

The European Investment Bank support will allow enet to develop next generation telecoms infrastructure over the coming years.  This builds on enet’s current investment programme for the delivery of ‘Fibre to the Business’ (FTTB) networks in a number of Irish towns and cities, including Claremorris, Loughrea, Ardee and Kilkenny. Since the acquisition of enet by specialist telecommunications and media investment firm Granahan McCourt Capital in September 2013, the company has expanded its geographical reach and operations by investing its own funds in telecom infrastructure that complement the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) which it already manages on behalf of the Irish State.

Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President, commented: “Fast and reliable internet access is essential for modern business needs, communications and entertainment. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment in communications infrastructure across Europe and we are pleased to help enet expand their open access networks to towns across Ireland. This marks the first use of new, dedicated finance for innovation in Ireland under the Innovfin programme and we look forward to similar strong proposals in the future.”

Mr. Alex White T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, added: “I am encouraged by the EIB’s support for enet and its acknowledgement of the importance of fast reliable broadband. Since being appointed to operate the 94 MANs on behalf of the State, enet has helped to support job creation and investment throughout Ireland by creating a carrier-neutral network.  The company has also shown real commitment to developing broadband for businesses through its recent projects in Claremorris, Loughrea, Ardee and Kilkenny. Delivering high quality broadband to every home and business in Ireland is a key priority for Government and this commercial investment will complement existing assets owned by the State, as well as providing competitive high quality offerings in the areas it serves.”

David C. McCourt, Chairman and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, as well as enet Chairman, says the EIB will be an excellent strategic partner for the company going forward: “This new loan is a significant validation in enet from the European Investment Bank. We are pleased to be the first company in Ireland to benefit from the EIB’s new Innovfin programme which in itself, demonstrates enet’s considerable potential to expand further within Ireland. It also acknowledges that enet is a well-positioned, well managed and high growth company with a clear focus on delivering high quality telecommunications services to organisations in every city, town and county in Ireland. The European Investment Bank also understands long-term infrastructure projects, which is critical for enet as it embarks on this important expansion journey in Ireland.”

The operation with enet is supported by ‘InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’ MidCap Growth Finance, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.

About The European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

The new investment by enet is supported by ‘InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’ facility with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.

About enet

enet holds the concession to manage, maintain and operate 2 phases of the Irish State’s Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) programme.

The MAN infrastructure enables 94 towns and cities across the country with an advanced technology platform capable of delivering cutting-edge communications and information services.

The company provides cost-effective telecommunications products and services to authorised operators on a wholesale basis, and is committed to the development of the regions in Ireland through encouraging the open delivery of affordable, state of the art broadband services. For more information see:

enet is also developing fibredirect in a number of Irish cities and towns. It is a genuine 100% fibre service, with fibre optic cables being delivered directly into premises, allowing SMEs to access speeds of up to 250Mbs. For more information see

About Granahan McCourt Capital

David C. McCourt is Chairman and Chief Executive of Granahan McCourt Capital, LLC, a private investment firm focused on investments in the telecommunications and media industries. He has built, bought, and sold 10 companies in this related space over the last 25 years and has long been recognised as a transformational force in the telecommunications and media industries. In addition to receiving the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award from Ernst and Young LLP and the Harvard Business School Club of New York, he most recently received the 2014 Award for Outstanding Alumni Entrepreneur from Georgetown University.

David C. McCourt is the Economist in Residence at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and a gold medal recipient of the American-Irish Historical Society, an award previously bestowed to former President Ronald Reagan and humanitarian Bono.

For more information, visit:

About Innovfin:

Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products which will make available more than EUR 24bn of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48bn of final R&I investments.

InnovFin builds on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility developed under the seventh EU framework programme for research and technological development (FP7), which financed 114 R&I projects to the tune of EUR 11.3bn and in addition provided loan guarantees worth over EUR 1.4bn.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries. These debt instruments will be complemented in the near future by a suite of equity instruments managed by the EIF.

InnovFin MidCap Growth Finance offers long term senior, subordinated loans or mezzanine loans, in order to improve access to finance mainly for innovative larger midcaps (up to 3000 employees), but also SMEs and small midcaps. Loans from EUR 7.5m to EUR 25m will be delivered directly by the EIB.