EBRD supports expansion of the fibre optic broadband network in FYR Macedonia

By Viktorija Melohina

EBRD supports expansion of the fibre optic broadband network in FYR Macedonia

€2 million loan to boost competitiveness of the local telecoms operator and deepen regional integration
 
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the expansion of the fibre optic infrastructure in FYR Macedonia to provide stronger regional broadband network connectivity in the Western Balkans.
 
The EBRD is extending up to €2 million to Neotel, one of the regional leaders in the information and telecommunication sector, to finance the expansion of the fibre optic infrastructure in FYR Macedonia.
 
The funds will be used to strengthen Neotel’s position by reducing operational costs, extending the fibre optic network ring and improving customer experience. Strong and better broadband services will allow the number of the Macedonian internet subscribers to rise, which remains almost half of the European average at 27.7 per cent.
 
Furthermore, the improvements are expected to contribute to the regional integration of broadband services across the Western Balkans.
 
Financing for this project comes under the EBRD’s Local Enterprise Facility (LEF). It is a programme combining finance and technical assistance, focused on strengthening the private sector by providing long-term financing for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Balkans, Turkey and the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.
 
“We are pleased to secure this financing with the EBRD. It will help Neotel to strengthen our position and increase our competitiveness in the telecoms market. It will also give us the opportunity to develop and provide to our customers easier solutions and better network access, especially in the southern and western parts of the country”, said the representative from Neotel.
 
“The EBRD is happy to support such a strong and innovative company as Neotel. Our funding will finance a major upgrade programme which will improve local customers’ experience”, added Anca Ioana Ionescu, EBRD Head of Office, Skopje.
 
“Investment in the knowledge economy is a foundation for the growth of the economy based on innovation. This is an important step for Neotel, as a pioneer in the new sector of the economy. Development of the information and communication sector of the economy is one of EBRD priorities in the region”, said Dirk Werner, EBRD, Director, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
 
Neotel was established in 2004 as an internet service provider. The successful business development and technological innovations in the last several years allowed Neotel to  expand into other telecommunication services, including fixed telephony. Today, it is one of the main B2B telecommunications providers in FYR Macedonia.
 
The EBRD began investing in the Macedonian economy in 1993. To date, it has signed over 90 projects in the country with a net cumulative business volume of more than €1.5 billion.