bne IntelliNews – IFC to grant $ 3 million loan to Kyrgyz broadband operator ElCat
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will provide a $ 3 million loan to Kyrgyzstan’s largest private wholesale broadband operator, ElCat, to increase fiber coverage in underserved areas of the country.
Fiber optic cable is the primary technology used for reliable high speed data transmission and will enable mobile and fixed broadband connectivity. The limited international bandwidth of landlocked Kyrgyzstan has delayed the country’s adoption of broadband technologies and internet use. This is particularly prevalent in rural areas. Some estimates put the fixed broadband penetration rate in Kyrgyzstan at around 19%. High-speed Internet access remains limited and expensive for businesses and individuals alike. Average fixed and mobile broadband internet speeds are significantly lower than the global average.
“With funding from IFC, we plan to expand our network, improve affordability and increase access to high-speed Internet connectivity for households, businesses and public sites (schools, health centers, health and government offices), including in remote areas of the country, ”said Ulan Tolubaev, CEO of ElCat.
“One of IFC’s strategic priorities in the Kyrgyz Republic is to advance digital inclusion by improving digital connectivity. This will help boost productivity, create jobs and increase access to essential services. By providing funding to ElCat, we can help lay the foundation necessary to spur innovation and bring the power of the Internet to more people and businesses in the Kyrgyz Republic, ”said Cassandra Colbert, Regional Director from IFC.
Improving access to broadband networks in Kyrgyzstan is expected to lead to increased use of digital services by government agencies and businesses amid growing reliance on data-intensive applications, such as video streaming and the conference.