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!