- £25 million funding round for Community Fibre led by the National Digital Infrastructure Fund, with follow-on investment by leading long-term institutional investor, RPMI Railpen
- Funding marks significant milestone in company’s target of connecting 500,000 homes in London with full-fibre by 2022
Community Fibre, the ultra-fast full-fibre Internet Service Provider (the ‘Company’), has secured £25 million in new financing led by the National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF) to rollout full-fibre connectivity to a further 100,000 homes by 2019, covering social and private housing estates across London.
Only 3% of UK homes are currently connected to full-fibre broadband which has the capacity to provide gigabit-capable download speeds. Community Fibre will use this new funding to further expand its coverage across London, continuing to target social housing estates as a priority, where enhanced, ultrafast internet connectivity can open up new economic opportunities to some of the most disadvantaged communities in London.
NDIF is a commercial fund established in 2017 by Amber Infrastructure Group (Amber) to invest in the next generation of digital infrastructure in the UK. It is supported by cornerstone investments from the UK Government through its Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) and International Public Partnerships (INPP), a leading listed infrastructure investment company.
The funding more than doubles the investment in Community Fibre to date and marks a significant milestone in supporting the Company’s target of connecting 500,000 homes in London with full-fibre by 2022. NDIF is investing alongside an existing shareholder in the Company, RPMI Railpen (Railpen), one of the largest UK pension investors with about £28 billion of assets under management. Railpen is the largest shareholder in Community Fibre having first invested a year ago. NDIF and Railpen have subscribed for £18 million and £7 million, respectively, of new equity in Community Fibre.
Amber has a proven track record of partnering with central government and local authorities across the UK, pioneering new ways to mobilise and deploy capital on a commercial basis into vital and often underserved public infrastructure; such as energy efficiency and urban regeneration, as well as more mainstream economic infrastructure in the education, health, transport and utilities sectors.
Khalid Naqib, Senior Investment Director, Amber Infrastructure, said: “As long-term, responsible partners to the public sector, our aim is to mobilise capital effectively to scale up the digital infrastructure that is so critical to the UK’s economic future. NDIF’s investment will help deliver gigabit connectivity to London’s local communities and secure appropriate returns for our investors, one of which is the UK taxpayer. We look forward to announcing further investments in the coming months as we help progress one of the central objectives in the UK Government’s productivity agenda.”
Jeremy Chelot, Chief Executive, Community Fibre, said: “This investment shows full-fibre is the only way forward for ultra-fast connectivity. Community Fibre is the partner of choice to deliver high-quality, fast pure fibre connection, to deliver sustainable investment and to support Government policy across the UK. This funding takes us a step closer to have our full-fibre network available to social housing or private landlords in every borough in London. Last month, we were ranked as the fastest Internet Service Provider in the UK and we have a track record of delivering quality service to all customers at truly affordable rates. In addition to the homes we are connecting, thousands of people will benefit from this investment through the community engagement and upskilling programmes we run on all our instalment projects.”
Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Today’s investment shows how we are delivering better broadband for Londoners who will benefit from fast connections. As we increasingly live our lives online, it is vital our digital connections can support this. We want to see full fibre broadband rolled out across the UK as quickly as possible and to support a competitive private sector in delivering that objective. That’s why we created the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which is boosting the rollout of full fibre to enable people to live and work flexibly and productively, without connections failing.”
Paul Bishop, Head of Private Markets, RPMI Railpen, said: “We are pleased to welcome NDIF’s significant new investment in Community Fibre. As Community Fibre’s largest shareholder, we believe that It will continue to be a success and help us generate the returns that we need to meet our mission to pay members’ pensions, securely, affordably and sustainably.”
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Notes to Editors:
Community Fibre is an internet provider rolling-out ultra-fast full-fibre optic communications networks. Community Fibre is on target to bring full-fibre connections to 500,000 properties across London by 2022.
As a registered supplier of the UK Government’s Broadband Connection voucher scheme, Community Fibre is able to roll out its ultrafast network for free to small and medium businesses. Packages start at £20 for 40-Mbps service. Community Fibre has continuously secured 5* rating by its customers on TrustPilot. In March 2018, Think Broadband ranked Community Fibre as fastest Internet Service Provider in the UK amongst some 187 broadband packages and/or providers.
Community Fibre aims to employ staff from the local communities where it is deploying full-fibre connectivity. In addition, it regularly provides free connectivity to support the community, whether to a primary school, a library or a community centre.
The National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF) is managed by Amber Infrastructure Group (Amber), and targets investments in core digital infrastructure in the UK on a fully commercial basis. NDIF benefits from a cornerstone commitment from the UK Government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) initiative, match-funded by private investors. NDIF reached its first close in July 2017, with further fundraising expected later this year.
NDIF forms part of the UK Government’s landmark DIIF, a £400m government initiative to accelerate investment into fibre-optic based broadband networks and related businesses to build the next generation of digital networks to scale up and accelerate the rollout of ultrafast connectivity across the UK.
For this transaction, NDIF was supported by Shoosmiths (legal counsel and due diligence), Analysys Mason (commercial due diligence), Intuitus (technical due diligence) and Grant Thornton (financial due diligence).
Amber Infrastructure Group (Amber) is a leading international infrastructure specialist, providing asset management and investment advisory services in respect of over £8 billion of assets in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America. Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising on, investing in and managing infrastructure assets within the utilities, PPP, transport, renewable energy and regeneration sectors.
Amber provides investment advisory services to International Public Partnerships Limited as well as private investment funds, specialising in infrastructure, urban regeneration and energy efficiency. Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Munich, Sydney, Melbourne and San Francisco and employs over 100 people, making it one of the largest international infrastructure specialists.
RPMI Railpen (Railpen) is one of the largest UK pension investors with about £28 billion of assets under management. Railpen is the largest shareholder in Community Fibre having first invested a year ago.