Saturday, 16 January 2021

Altnet G.Network raises over £1 billion for London broadband

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 14 December 20

Universities pension scheme has invested £295 million, while the operator also raised £745 million in debt

Back in March, London-based alternative network provider G.Network announced that it was seeking around £200 million via share sales and private debt in order to accelerate its fibre broadband deployment in the UK’s capital. At the time, the company was seeking to reach their initial build target of 120,000 premises…

Back in March, London-based alternative network provider G.Network announced that it was seeking around £200 million via share sales and private debt in order to accelerate its fibre broadband deployment in the UK’s capital. At the time, the company was seeking to reach their initial build target of 120,000 premises.

Now, however, the company has passed some 160,000 premises and it seems that it’s goals have scaled up dramatically, presumably as a result of the huge increase in demand brought on by the coronavirus. Today, it has been announced that the operator has raised over £1 billion to rollout broadband to 13 London boroughs.

£295 million of this sum comes from the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the pension fund for  UK university staff, which is buying new equity in the altner, while banks are providing an additional £745 million in debt. 

In the next five years, G.Network wants to provide connections to 1.4 million premises.

Alongside its direct customer offerings, G.Network’s network is also available on an open access basis to UK mobile virtual network operators, like TalkTalk and Sky, but CEO Sasho Veselinski told the Evening Standard that he would like to offer the network to BT as well.

“It would be a good moment if we can show the market BT Retail can work with altnets, and not just Openreach,” he said. “If the price is right, why should they not protect their customer base?”

For now, G.Network’s plans are focussed on central London, but Veselinski did not preclude expanding the companies scope as they get closer to their coverage goals.

“We are not ruling out one day going beyond London but there is a big job here in London to do,” he said.

Openreach’s competition from alternative networks has heated up this year, with the likes of CityFibre, Hyperoptic, and Gigaclear growing significantly alongside the national need for better broadband. CityFibre, for example, signed £1.5 billion-worth of civil engineering contracts back in November, aiming to help them cover 1 million premises by the end of 2021 and 8 million by the end of 2025.

With the demand for quality connectivity higher than ever, altnets are becoming ever more significant players in the UK telecoms ecosystem.

 

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