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Home Unified Comms Gigaclear secures £111m funding to roll out new fibre networks in rural…

Home Unified Comms Gigaclear Secures £111m Funding To Roll Out New Fibre Networks In Rural...

Broadband infrastructure company receives private equity boost to accelerate plans

Gigaclear has secured ?111 million in additional equity funding to build new fibre networks in rural Britain.

Existing shareholders Infracapital and Woodford have committed to investing ?60 million and ?15 million respectively, with other unnamed shareholders contributing a further ?1 million.

RPMI Railpen, the investment manager for the Railways Pension Scheme, is the new additional investor, contributing ?35 million to work in the company.

Significant tenders

According to Gigaclear, the new investment will enable a significant acceleration in the build-rate of the ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks across multiple counties, reaching hundreds of thousands of people.

In recent months, the company has won “significant tenders” to deliver its broadband network to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire through the government-backed Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

This was set up in 2013 and is part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), with the government providing superfast broadband to 90 per cent of the UK by early 2016 and 95 per cent by December this year, as well as exploring options to provide superfast coverage to the hardest to reach parts of the region.

The company added that this new investment will fund the first stage of these new networks, along with other commercial network build projects.

Continued expansion

Gigaclear chief executive Matthew Hare said: “Full fibre is the future.

This latest round of investment will enable Gigaclear to step up our speed of network delivery and is a clear signal of the confidence investors have in our continued expansion and success.”

“Millions of rural homes and businesses across the country need better broadband and we want to reach as many of those in rural areas as quickly as possible.

“Our pure fibre network transforms lives by providing access to the fastest internet speeds to be found anywhere in the world and technologically future-proofing these rural communities for years to come.”

Abingdon internet giant Gigaclear bags £111m investment to roll out rural broadband

Abingdon Internet Giant Gigaclear Bags £111m Investment To Roll Out Rural Broadband

Matthew Hare, chief executive of Abingdon-based internet infrastructure firm Gigaclear

ABINGDON-based internet infrastructure firm Gigaclear has won ?111m investment to build broadband networks across rural Britain – but not Oxfordshire. The company said the cash injection would create ‘many new jobs’ at its Abingdon headquarters. Gigaclear recently won several tenders to deliver broadband networks to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire through the Government-backed Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The new investment will fund the first stage of these new networks, along with other commercial network build projects. Existing shareholders Infracapital and Woodford Investment Management have committed ?60m and ?15m respectively with other shareholders contributing a further ?1m. Railways Pension Scheme RPMI RailPen is a new investor, putting ?35m into the company.

Gigaclear chief executive Matthew Hare commented: “This latest round of investment will enable Gigaclear to step up our speed of network delivery and is a clear signal of the confidence investors have in our continued expansion and success.

“Millions of rural homes and businesses across the country need better broadband and we want to reach as many of those in rural areas as quickly as possible.

“Our pure fibre network transforms lives by providing access to the fastest internet speeds to be found anywhere in the world and technologically future-proofing these rural communities for years to come.”

Gigaclear raises GBP111m for rural broadband rollout

British pure-fibre provider Gigaclear has raised GBP111 million (USD143 million) in new equity which it will use to roll out additional infrastructure in rural areas, according to the Financial Times. It is understood that the company has secured the funding from existing investors Infracapital and Woodford Investment Management, while also bringing on Railpen, the railways pension scheme, as a new backer. With Infracapital contributing GBP60 million to the latest funding round, and Woodford Investment GBP15 million, Railpen has injected GBP35 million, while smaller shareholders have added a combined GBP1 million. The funds raised will reportedly be used to connect 150,000 premises to full-fibre networks within three years, as Gigaclear looks to deliver on contracts it has won in Herefordshire, Essex, Devon, Somerset, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire. Gigaclear’s network passed 30,000 homes by the end of 2016, and the company claims to have a total addressable market of 1.5 million premises that are not expected to be covered by larger broadband infrastructure companies, such as BT’s network arm Openreach and Virgin Media.

Commenting specifically on Railpen’s funding, Matthew Hare, Gigaclear’s founder and CEO, noted: ‘It’s the communications revolution of the 19th century supporting the communications revolution of the 21st century.’ Meanwhile, Paul Bishop, investment director at Railpen, said its decision to invest in Gigaclear – which marks its first foray into the UK telecoms sector – reflected a view that full-fibre infrastructure investment is justified by the growing demand for data. ‘Data consumption is expected to continue to rise significantly over coming years and it is unlikely that existing infrastructure will be able to satisfy demand,’ said Mr Bishop.