Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Innovative Investment for a Connected Continent

Yesterday I was in Paris – at the launch of a new fast broadband project, "Axione".

As innovative as the Internet is – we can also use innovative financing to ensure it reaches every European. And what we launched yesterday was the first of a new kind of "project bond" for broadband. (See here for full details of the scheme).

Europe faces a broadband investment gap – and the private sector will play a big role in filling it. While projects like this benefit from EU support through the EIB and Connecting Europe Facility - private sector leverage makes public money work 9 times harder. But, today, some institutional investors may not be familiar with this kind of investment, even though it can in fact be very rewarding: we need to make them more comfortable with the idea. I hope all potential investors are watching projects like this closely to see what they can achieve.

I know that across Europe, there are many equally exciting ideas for rolling out broadband – but sometimes promoters or investors don't have the resources or know-how to achieve their dream. That is why we launch the Connected Communities project – a chance to gain valuable technical assistance from the EU and World Bank. If you have a promising and innovative project to put forward then send it in – and maybe you could be as lucky as the people of Paris! 

Neelie Kroes, Axelle Lemaire, Michel Sapin, Philippe de Fontaine Vive at the launch of Axione in Paris
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