France's Iliad gets $251M to expand its broadband network reach

Iliad, the France-based competitive telco that delivers services via the Free brand, on Monday received €200 million ($251 million) to expand its Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and ADSL2+ networks from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Following an earlier €150 million ($188.5 million) loan agreement signed by the EIB and the Iliad Group in 2010, this latest agreement was signed by both Xavier Niel, Founder of the Iliad/Free Group, and EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz at Iliad Group's Paris headquarters.

With this loan in hand, Iliad said 65 percent of the funds will be allocated for the FTTH network expansion. In addition, it will use the funds to extend the reach and capacity of its ADSL2+ network and drive more unbundling with incumbent service provider France Telecom.

A key drive of this latest investment will be on extending services to "less densely populated areas" in France through a co-financing agreement it signed with France Telecom last July that has a mission of reaching 60 towns and villages.

Xavier Niel, Founder of the Iliad/Free Group, said in a release that its partnership with EIB "will enable the Iliad Group to press ahead with the rollout of the digital fixed networks of tomorrow and strengthen its key position in France's telecom's sector."

The EIB has been particularly active in France's broadband sector. In 2011, it invested €4 billion ($5.02 billion) funding to help service providers such as Iliad/Free expand their respective broadband networks to fulfill the European Union's digital agenda goals.

For more:
- see the release

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