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The 4th Utility Acquire London FTTP ISP Vision Fibre Media

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 (3:16 pm) - Score 1,464
4th_utility_team

Greater Manchester-based UK ISP The 4th Utility, which tends to focus on deploying 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband networks to residential properties (mostly new build developments), has acquired London focused provider Vision Fibre Media (VFM) for an undisclosed sum.

The move comes after the 4th Utility secured a £25 million investment boost from DIF Capital Partners last August 2020 (here), which should help toward their goal of deploying full fibre infrastructure to cover 300,000 premises within the next 3 years (i.e. by around autumn 2023), or 500,000 if you include their recent partnership with the ITS Technology Group (here).

However, some of that investment is also being used to support their “ambitious growth plans” via the acquisition of alternative networks (altnets) in the same space, which may explain why today’s VFM deal is being expressed as only their “first acquisition” (i.e. more may follow).

VFM itself is a London-based operator that has been around for a while, although few readers will have heard of them because their network footprint only covers a few patches around central London, including the iconic Barbican building, and they haven’t really done much to promote their efforts. Otherwise, VFM claims to have connected over 10,000 properties, both residential and commercial, over the last 5 years.

Tony Hughes, CEO of 4th Utility, said:

“As a company we are delighted to complete this acquisition which enables us to further accelerate our growth plans.

The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the need for full fibre solutions to support digital inclusion and drive economic growth. The additional funding from DIF Capital Partners supports our drive for organic and in-organic acceleration of our full fibre plan.”

The 4th Utility was advised by a legal team from Shoosmiths and UHY Hacker Young, with Grant Thornton acting on behalf of VFM.

Ian Ratcliffe, MD of VFM, said:

“The most important element in choosing an acquisition partner for us was a company with a clear vision and roadmap for the nationwide roll-out of fibre broadband. It was clear to us straight away that 4th Utility ticked the box, alongside having an experienced management team with the knowledge and expertise to make it happen.”

Alongside the acquisition, the 4th Utility has also finalised an additional funding agreement with DIF Capital Partners to facilitate further strategic expansion, although they haven’t said how much this is actually worth.

Customers of the 4th Utility typically pay from £35.99 per month for a symmetric speed 100Mbps broadband package and this goes up to £57.99 if you want their top 300Mbps home tier. Contract terms and activation fees tend to vary between developments, with some getting this for a 30-day term and others 12-months (free activation).

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Sceptic says:

    One altnet buying another altnet forming an ever bigger organisation. Like groups of cells growing in a Petri dish! One day the dish will be full of one ‘strain’. Then along will come a big merger and several dishes will grow into a super strain. The weaker cells where there are multiple layers of mould will be strangled out, replaced by the strongest variant……..

    PS not much 1m+ social distancing going on in that photo.

    1. bing says:

      no one cares about social distancing

    2. Noob says:

      The photo was taken before lockdown, lol.

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