Bulgaria’s leading pay-TV operator Bulsatcom has secured a €20 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

This will help it to further roll out its LTE/4G mobile network, as well as expand its fibre-optic broadband network, with rural areas likely to benefit the most from the wider availability of such services.

Bulgaria currently has, at 34%, the third lowest broadband penetration rate in the EU, with the figure even lower outside main cities.

Commenting on the loan, Daniel Berg, EBRD Director for Bulgaria, said: “We are pleased to support a dynamic and innovative company like Bulsatcom. Our funding will support a major investment programme which will allow Bulsatcom to grow and local customers to enjoy better services and the benefits of increased competition.”

Maxim Zayakov, CEO of Bulsatcom, said: “We are very glad that thanks to this financing, Bulsatcom will be able to provide its customers a better service portfolio and an adequate modern answer to the growing trends of cross-platform media consumption. Moreover, we are proud to be pioneers in providing telecommunication services with local know-how and technology. The future of Bulgaria as a country and the development of its human potential belong to the high-tech companies that promote innovation.”

The EBRD has invested €2.9 billion in 227 projects in Bulgaria since it entered the country in 1993, with 93% of the portfolio being in the private sector.