Kick-off for Montenegro Broadband Infrastructure Development Technical Assistance Project
On 24th March 2023 the kick-off meeting for the Technical Assistance (TA) project for the Montenegro Broadband Infrastructure Development was held in Podgorica. The project includes updating technical documentation, procurement and contract strategies, procurement plans, market models, tender documents, and environmental and social action plan and follows on from the Feasibility completed in 2020. The European Union provided a grant of €525,000 for this project through the Western Balkans Infrastructure Framework (WBIF) which will be implemented by Infrastructure Project Facility 11 (IPF 11) with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as the lead International Financial Institution (IFI).
The Government of Montenegro places great importance on the digital sector which is included in all relevant strategic documents in the country. The Strategy of Digital Transformation of Montenegro 2022-2026 acknowledges the need for further development of the digital infrastructure, especially in the context of balanced regional development.
The current situation in Montenegro includes four main telecom operators, with most rural areas being served by one operator for mobile connectivity. Copper technology is still the main solution for internet service in most suburban and rural settlements with many rural areas are served via 'broadband wireless access,' mainly Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.
The overall objective of this Project is to strengthen the economic and social development of Montenegro through the deployment of Next Generation Access (NGA) fixed broadband infrastructure. Increased access to information and communication technologies (ICT) will boost digital connectivity between Montenegro and other countries in the region and the EU, reduce the digital gap and contribute to the balanced regional development and inclusion.
Viktor Berishaj, Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism Government of Montenegro: “The digital sector is of high importance to the Government of Montenegro as recognised in the Strategy of Digital Transformation of Montenegro 2022-2026 and the commitment to follow the EU Digital Agenda 2030. A particular goal is to increase the coverage across the country of broadband high-speed networks and this technical assistance will bring this to be a reality. It builds upon the feasibility study completed in 2020, which was also undertaken with the assistance of WBIF, and will be undertaken in close collaboration with the telecom operators.”
Selma Demirović, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD): “EBRD is fully committed to the continuation of the Broadband Infrastructure Development project in Montenegro, as it will accelerate the digital transition and contribute the economy to be more inclusive and competitive. Together with the Government of Montenegro, telecom operators and EU, the Bank will be in position to bring VHS internet to rural areas and smaller communities around country that will build different economic opportunities. Digitalization is a core of EBRD’s Strategic and Capital Framework 2021-2025, which the Bank aims to achieve through investments in infrastructure, by supporting e-government, providing better access to finance for ICT companies and improving digital skills."
This project has been identified as the Flagship 8 in the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans 2021-2027.
More about the WBIF activities in Montenegro
More about the WBIF Digital Sector projects