EU Funded Technical Assistance Project for the Improvement of the Broadband Infrastructure Development in Montenegro
An EU-funded project which will help to improve Montenegro’s regional broadband infrastructure was launched on 9 July 2020. The online launch event was attended by the representatives of the European Commission Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro (EUD), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Ministry of Economy of Montenegro, Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (EKIP), National IPA Coordinator (NIPAC), WBIF country representative and project partners from the Infrastructure Project Facility 8 (IPF8).
The project is funded by the European Union with a €550,000 grant through Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) and in line with the strategy ’Connectivity for a Competitive Digital Single Market - Towards a European Gigabit Society’ adopted in September 2016 by the European Commission. It is implemented by IPF8 in a contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The lead International Financing Institution and potential lender for the implementation of the project is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The project will support the identification of the exact needs, options, costs, and financing structure of the construction of next generation broadband networks. A study will be prepared for the benefit of the Ministry of Economy, which will be based on the recommendations of the EC Broadband Investment Guide, while at the same time taking into consideration Montenegro’s market characteristics. The study will also provide input to the Government to devise the National Broadband Development Plan.
The deployment of broadband networks will bring a number of benefits to Montenegro, such as increase in business opportunities in public and private economic sectors alike, improvement of the digital connectivity between Montenegro and other countries in the region and the EU, and enhancement of the links between thecommunities, which is even more important in the COVID-19 pandemic period. The project is expected to have a positive impact on education, tourism and overall quality of life.
Montenegro lacks broadband infrastructure in rural and sparsely-populated areas. Moreover, the next generation broadband coverage goals are only partially achieved while there is a significant difference in coverage of rural and urban areas. The EU through the Western Balkan Investment Framework (WBIF) will help Montenegro overcome these challenges and increase broadband coverage as well as the availability of next generation broadband networks in the currently uncovered sub-urban and rural areas.
Malte Engelien, EU Delegation to Montenegro: ’The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted even further the need for this priority project, as we now, more than ever, depend on bandwidth and quality digital services. In a globally connected world, Montenegro is turning to broadband infrastructure and digital means to communicate and collaborate to reach common development goals. This project comes at the right time for the benefit of the whole society.’
Selma Demirović, EBRD Podgorica office: ’Our interest is solid to invest in and finance the developoment of broadband infrastructure in Montenegro and we are interested to see the alternative investment models that will be proposed by the study’.
Milan Srzentić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy of Montenegro responsible for digital transformation, electronic communications and radio spectrum: ’Despite the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences, this project stays high in our digital agenda. This is the first EU project in the digital sector in Montenegro. I officially confirm our commitment and support to this very important project’.
More about the WBIF project ‘Broadband Infrastructure Development in Montenegro’ here.
More about the WBIF activities in Montenegro here.