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Full Fibre ISP Start-up toob Secure £75m Investment for UK Rollout

Monday, Mar 25th, 2019 (7:35 am) - Score 4,787

A new Portsmouth-based ISP called toob, which we reported last month had been created by several of Vodafone’s former directors and planned to roll-out a 900Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network to 100,000 UK premises by the end of 2021 (here), has secured a huge investment of £75m.

The funding itself stems from the Amber Infrastructure backed National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF), which is a commercial fund that is also being supported by the Government’s £400m Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF). Both are focused on supporting the construction of alternative “full fibre” broadband ISP networks.

As we reported in February, toob aims to enter into the increasingly crowded market for providers seeking to “build and operate a full fibre network in towns and cities across the UK“. The operator also expects to make some use of Openreach’s existing cable ducts and poles to help deploy their network (Physical Infrastructure Access) and says they’d be willing to share access to this once built (provided it makes commercial sense to do so).

The provider also has a longer term ambition to expand its full fibre network to pass more than 1 million homes and business over the next 10 years, although that would require significantly more investment.

Nick Parbutt, toob’s CEO, said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with Amber Infrastructure and to have secured Charles as Chairman. toob now has the right people, the right plan and the right funding in place to capitalise on the exciting opportunity ahead of us. We want to enable families, businesses and communities to live, work and play in ways which are only made possible with the advent of gigabit broadband.”

Chris Hogg, Investment Director at Amber, said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with such an experienced team at toob. Nick, Mike, Charles and the team at toob have extensive telecoms and fibre experience and we are looking forward to accelerating toob’s fibre network deployment with our funding.”

Securing £75m before the provider has even built any infrastructure of its own is an impressive feat, which most likely reflects the high level of on-going investor attraction toward new UK fibre optic infrastructure and the confidence that Amber has in toob’s management team; almost all of which previously held senior positions within Vodafone’s UK fixed line and wholesale divisions etc.

On the other hand there’s clearly a risk here with so many new “full fibre” ISPs cropping up and seemingly choosing to target the same urban markets as so many others, including the larger players like Openreach (BT), Cityfibre, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic etc.

Sooner or later we’re going to see winners and losers from this fight (FTTP/H is expensive to do and the payback can take many years), which will inevitably be followed by some degree of consolidation. However it’s still early days and as yet we don’t know precisely where toob will seek to target or whether it can find enough skilled engineers / contractors to do the job (this remains a problem for most new operators).

Nevertheless toob aim to have their first customers connected by the end of 2019.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Optimist says:

    Didn’t someone once say that the internet is a series of toobs?

  2. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

    Good luck to them.

    If nothing else it spurs OR and VM to higher activity and investment levels and provides price competition.

  3. Avatar photo Mike says:

    toob or not toob?

  4. Avatar photo Matthew says:

    Very good news it seems at this point only Sky is now maki g there own FTTP network.

  5. Avatar photo Gavin says:

    Where do I sign up/trial! Can’t wait to get out off talktalk 63MBPS Downstream speed and my 350mbps Virgin business line to get 1GBPS (even though there’s nearly £800 termination fee)

Comments are closed

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