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Gigaclear to continue rural broadband rollout following £30m investment

Monday, May 11th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Gigaclear is to deliver 1,000Mbps broadband to more rural areas following a £30m investment.

The company’s rollout of gigabit broadband uses fibre-to-the-premises technology – bypassing BT’s copper network – and is funded by private investors.

Prudential is making a £20m investment, which is being managed by its infrastructure investment arm Infracapital.

Gigaclear’s existing shareholder Woodford Investment Management has also committed a further £10m from funds under its management.

Matthew Hare, Gigaclear’s CEO, said: “Securing this new investment from Prudential and Woodford is a major breakthrough for Gigaclear.

“The divide between cut-off rural communities and connected towns and cities has never been greater.

“We see Prudential and Woodford’s investments as a strong endorsement of our business plan to become the largest rural fibre-to-the-premises provider in the UK, bridging that divide by building ultrafast, pure fibre networks.

“These investments give us the resources needed to accelerate our rollout over the next 24 months to many more communities.”

Gigaclear offers the UK’s rural population broadband speeds up to 1Gbps via fibre optic cable all the way to each property in areas typically underserved by the existing large broadband providers.

The company has already built and operates 23 rural fibre networks, with a further 31 in construction.

It targets a market of 1.5 million rural households and businesses across thousands of rural communities seeking ultrafast and reliable broadband.

'Early stage'

Ed Clarke, co-founder and director of Infracapital, said: “We are delighted to play a role in getting the UK connected.

“This is a unique opportunity to invest at an early stage in the development of high speed communications infrastructure for the UK’s underserved rural population.

“Gigaclear has enormous growth potential and we look forward to supporting Gigaclear’s management team in the build out of fast, high quality broadband connectivity.”

Earlier this year, Gigaclear announced it was installing a fibre broadband network to serve a number of villages in Leicestershire’s Welland Valley.

The company is rolling out its first network in the county after tesidents in Blaston, Bringhurst, Cranoe, Drayton, Glooston, Hallaton, Horninghold, Medbourne, Nevill Holt, Slawston and Stockerston exceeded its pre-order threshold.

Tom Purnell, assistant CEO at Leicestershire County Council, said: “I am delighted that Gigaclear has committed to bring its ultrafast fibre broadband to rural Leicestershire.

“The villages Gigaclear will be rolling out to include significant areas that are not part of any other commercial or subsidised plan.

'Fastest broadband'

“This investment will transform the connected lives of businesses and communities in some of the most rural parts of the county.

Martin Griffin, leader of the Welland Valley Broadband Group, added: “Our broadband group have worked for over a year to bring fast, reliable and affordable broadband to our parishes.

“We are delighted with the outcome, as Gigaclear provides our residents with a long term strategic partner, offering the fastest broadband in the UK.”

Gigaclear’s Matthew Hare said the Welland Valley Broadband Group’s “motivated, dynamic team of local champions” made it possible for Gigaclear to invest in the area.

“The Welland Valley in Leicestershire is made up of many small villages and hamlets spread out over a large area.

“The champions in the Welland Valley Broadband Group have worked alongside our own team to build the demand to the point where the business case works for us, to build a new ultrafast pure fibre network across the whole area.

“We look forward to transforming the online experience for residents and businesses in the Welland Valley this summer.”

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