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Investment Firm Blackstone to Pump Money into UK Broadband

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 (1:48 pm) - Score 1,965

Full fibre builders take note. Global investment firm Blackstone is in the process of establishing a dedicated European infrastructure team, which among other things is looking for opportunities to invest billions of pounds into UK infrastructure upgrades including energy, water systems, transport and broadband ISP networks.

As it stands Blackstone Infrastructure Partners (BIP) announced the final close of its inaugural fund-raising phase in 2019 with total commitments of $14 billion (£10.8bn), much of which is connected back to a foundation in the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

The company has now hired the former Managing Partner and Head of Europe for rival Brookfield Infrastructure, Jonathan Kelly, to take charge of its new fund as a Senior Managing Director and Head of European Infrastructure. Jon is expected to start his job in London on 6th April 2020 and will then proceed to hunt for investment opportunities across the region.

According to a related report in This is Money, BIP is said to be “bullish” on the United Kingdom and believes that Brexit has caused its assets to become undervalued. In theory the UK could end up attracting roughly a quarter of the aforementioned investment pot (c.£2.5bn) and thus presents another opportunity – one of several – for builders of fibre optic broadband networks to attract more funding.

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10 Responses
  1. Avatar David

    Oh good- more money for the towns that already have 5-8 providers -the country will just have to wait some more 🙁

    • Avatar tim

      5-8 providers??? Can you name a street that has that many?

      There will be places with 3 ultra-fast providers already but I doubt many will have more then 3. (Openreach, VM + one fill fibre (i.e. Vodafone/CityFibre)

      Yet I totally agree it is becoming silly. My mum’s house still has only one choice, Openreach and that is ADSL only due to being too far from the FTTC cabinet. Stupid thing is fibre is in the road past her house because another 3 FTTH cabinets are further down the road. Also fibre for leased lines passes, and the T-Node is within 800 meters. Yet no chance of getting a residential broadband service.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Or look on the bright side – more fibre assets in the ground.

      Wasn’t that long ago that all of us on here would have craved this level of FTTP building and anyone suggesting it might be around the corner wasn’t taken too seriously.

      The commercial aspect of overbuilding will sort itself out over time. There is still a good 85% of the UK with no FTTP so plenty of space for new entrants.

      Alt Nets will also drive price/value options. If OR had their way there would be nothing more than 330/50. But OR’s hand has been forced by the Alt Nets to provide up to 1G options and look at symmetric. Also on price the Alt Nets have much leaner business models and have forced prices down to affordable levels.

      There is much to like in the way the market is playing out now.

      How times change.

    • Avatar Gary

      @Tim,
      Sadly that’s one of the big failings of the FTTC rollout, Fibre running right past peoples streets and houses but a 10 mile hike to the nearest Ag. there were some very poor long term decisions made that have impacted the expansion of the network.

      Yes at the time it saved a few quid and got more people onto FTTC for the money spent. But we’ve ended up with cabinets poorly placed for the most logical network topology, very long runs back to Ag nodes that have meant unaffordable FttpOD costs.

      But thats what we got for what was planned at the time. It’s the communications equivalent of our logic defying road system where windy routes do 90 degree turns for now no apparent reason but years back there was a tree that was the corner boundary of some long forgotten farmstead.

  2. Avatar chris conder

    Thank goodness for altnets. We’d all still be on dial up but for Virgin.

    • Avatar The Facts

      How many OR FTTP premises passed? Who stopped OR those years ago?

    • Avatar Jake Court

      And the descent from do-gooder to self-parody is now complete. Classic Chris.

    • Avatar Alex

      I would’ve expected readers here to already know this, but… BT were fully ready to roll out fibre nationwide in 1990, before they were told to stop by Thatcher’s government who preferred to give cable companies the opportunity to do it instead.

      We’re all still on (slightly fancier) dial-up _because_ of Virgin.

    • Avatar Gary

      BT were fully ready, Seriously ? BT/Openreach have rarely done anything without their hand being forced.

      Someone on here keeps using the phrase ‘milking their assets’ sadly its true or would be without being forced to do otherwise.

  3. Avatar Alex

    https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/world-of-tech/how-the-uk-lost-the-broadband-race-in-1990-1224784

    If this article is to be believed, yes, BT were indeed gearing up for a nationwide fibre rollout in the 90s before they were ordered to stop.

    Openreach came along many years later, in 2006.

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