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Grain Prep GBP175m Plan for Large UK FTTP Broadband Rollout

Thursday, August 5th, 2021 (4:10 pm) - Score 2,976
grain_connect_fttp_build

Full fibre UK ISP Grain Connect, which was initially supported by £10m from Albion Capital, has today confirmed that they’ve scored a £75 million equity investment from Equitix, one of Europe’s top infrastructure investors, to help extend their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network to 300,000 premises.

Grain has, until fairly recently, tended to focus their gigabit broadband rollout on new build home sites and large residential buildings (apartment blocks etc.), but that has already begun to change. For example, ISPreview.co.uk recently spotted their teams building to existing homes in Grimsby (Lincolnshire), Scarborough (North Yorkshire), Carlisle, Barrow-in-Furness and even Blackburn (here and here).

Suffice to say, Grain’s plan was already starting to look as if it would exceed their current investment, and now we know why. Aside from the additional £75m from Equitix, the provider states that they’ve also begun discussions with lenders in preparation for a £100m debt funding process.

The combined funding will be used to support Grain’s plan to extend its footprint to cover an “initial300,000 premises (homes and businesses) across Great Britain.

Grain’s Chairman, Sean Williams, said:

“We are delighted to have secured such an excellent funding partner in Equitix, a leading investor in European infrastructure with a long-term investment strategy and clear vision for our business. The Grain team are already accelerating the build programme and are hugely excited about the opportunity to scale up the excellent national platform that we have already established.”

Hugh Crossley, Chief Investment Officer for Equitix, said:

“We are delighted to have agreed this investment into Grain. Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of data connectivity in which Grain is a leading provider. We fully support the management team’s initiatives to improve the scale and quality of their operations by investing in services and personnel, to ensure that they continue to provide best-in-class services to their customers and the local communities they serve.”

We should point out that Albion Capital is also said to have “participated further in this [funding] round,” although no details have been provided. But Albion themselves did confirm that the new rollout programme will be delivered over the next 5-years (i.e. by 2026) and should grow Grain into a “significant nationwide fibre provider.” Mind you, come 2026, there are expected to be quite a few alternative networks with similar or greater levels of cover.

The provider’s founding shareholder, Pinnacle Group, will also be retaining a significant proportion of its interest in Grain. Meanwhile, Cameron Barney, an independent merchant bank specialising in technology and infrastructure, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Grain in the fundraising.

Otherwise, new customers can expect to pay from £25 per month for a symmetric speed 50Mbps package, and that goes up to £55 for their top 900Mbps plan. All of these packages come with an 18-month minimum contract term, free installation and a router. No doubt we’ll soon be seeing a lot more of Grain.

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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
2 Responses
  1. Damien says:

    They all are fighting for areas none of them do one alone it sucks

    1. NE555 says:

      The cherries are all on the same cherry trees

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