The European Investment Bank, the Bank of the European Union, will invest up to €34 million in expanding a high-speed internet network bringing fast and reliable internet services to some 500,000 people living in 1,000 rural and remote settlements in Georgia.
The investment will finance the installation of 5,000 km of fiber optics telecommunications network and provide open-access infrastructure for Georgian telecom operators to provide their fast-internet services. The EU has provided a guarantee through the External Lending Mandate.
This project supports improved digital connectivity as one of the five flagship initiatives for Georgia under the European Union’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnership.
This new EIB operation is a part of broader Team Europe efforts to support Georgia in digitalising, accelerating green and sustainable social and economic growth, and increasing nationwide resilience to natural disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, said:“Investing in the digital transition in Georgia is key to stimulate jobs and growth and bring about prosperity… This flagship programme will assist in bringing new opportunities and reduce digital inequalities between rural and urban areas by developing high-speed broadband infrastructure for around 1,000 rural settlements. I consider this an important contribution to Georgia’s modernisation and economic development and recovery, while promoting digital inclusion in line with its national broadband strategy.”
Teresa Czerwinska, Vice President of the EIB, in charge of operations in Georgia, said: “Our investment in fast and reliable internet services for rural Georgia… supports digitalisation, the key to the long-term competitiveness of the Georgian economy and its sustainable and green development. … Together with Team Europe, EU4Digital, the World Bank and the Government of Georgia, we are building modern infrastructure, a cornerstone for a modern and thriving Georgia.”
The EIB loan will provide the digital backbone infrastructure required under Georgia’s Open Net Programmeand promote and extend affordable broadband internet to individuals and enterprises in rural areas of Georgia. The programme envisages the development of modern broadband infrastructure to reduce the digital divide in the country, improve living conditions, and create new opportunities for businesses. Open Net is the main component of the Log-In Georgia project, which promotes affordable broadband internet and extends its availability to individuals and enterprises in the country. On top of infrastructure development, the Log In Georgia Project also has the potential to promote education, health and financial services as benefits of improved broadband connectivity in selected villages and increases digital inclusion of women, social minorities and persons with disabilities.
Log-in Georgia Project and the Open Net Programme fully support the implementation of the National Broadband Development Strategy 2020-2025, prepared with support from the European Union and the World Bank. The EU and the World Bank provided two-fold technical assistance to the Government of Georgia in developing the Strategy. It included assistance in developing legal, policy, and regulatory reforms and help in creating an incentive scheme for investments in national broadband infrastructure.