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Intel Invests in Swedish Broadband Company

Bedbandsbolaget needs more than SEK 15 billion (US$ 1.7 billion) to build its planned broadband network in Sweden, and help is on the way from Intel.

Intel's investment is giving this new network operator funds for direct investments, as well as boosting Bredbandsbolaget's status as a serious market player.

The level of investment was not disclosed, but according to sources Intel will become one of the main owners of the company.

Earlier investors include the financial family of Rausing, Investor Group and Carlyle Group. Ericsson and Net Insight will also partner with Bredbandsbolaget as technology suppliers for the network.

"It is good for Sweden that some of the world's most known tech companies are supporting this edge investment on broadband," said Jonas "Birger" Birgersson, Bredbandsbolaget AB's founder and chairman, as well as the founder and CEO of Framtidsfabriken AB. Framtidsfabriken holds the majority stake in Bredbandsbolaget.

Birgersson said that the investment acknowledges that the Swedish company is on track for the next generation of Internet and mobile phone products.

The company's new CEO will be Peter Ekelund, who joins Bredbandsbolaget from the cable TV network market. The new CEO will continue the search for investors in order to reach the company's goal -- to wire up Sweden and provide each household with a 10 Mbit/s connection for SEK 200 (US$ 23).

But Bredbandsbolaget faces competition from new operators Utfors and TeleCyber in its quest to wire up the country. Cable TV networks such as StjarnTV and Telia, as well as telcos Telia and Tele2, will also join the rivalry in the emerging broadband market.