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Borderlink Get GBP164m for Full Fibre Rollout in North England and Scotland

Monday, January 10th, 2022 (9:50 am) - Score 1,320
finger touching fiber optic on technology background

Broadband ISP BorderLink, which currently covers rural areas across Northumberland, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders with their wireless network, has today secured a huge investment of £164m to build a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to cover 500,000 premises across the North of England and Borders areas.

In April 2021 we revealed that the operator had secured a big £10.5m funding boost from the Gresham House Investment Fund (BSIF) – a specialist asset management company – to fuel their plans (here), which would initially aim to help expand their new full fibre network to cover 100,000 premises across “several rural towns” in parts of the East Lothian, Mid Lothian and Angus regions in Scotland, as well as Northumberland.

NOTE: BorderLink’s new full fibre broadband services are being sold to consumers via their GoFibre sub-brand.

The good news today is that the BSIF has awarded BorderLink a further £164 million to help accelerate and expand their rollout plan for the new network, which will now see them aim cover “up to500,000 premises (homes and businesses) “over the next three years” (i.e. by the end of 2024 or start of 2025).

The operator has previously announced (here) that some of the first Lothian towns to benefit from this rollout will include Dunbar, Haddington, North Berwick, Cockenzie, Tranent, Prestonpans, Gullane, Longniddry, East Saltoun, Pencaitland. Last October, local customers in those areas were told to “expect delivery over the next 1-6 months.”

Alex Cacciamani, Borderlink CEO, said:

“This investment allows us to bring GoFibre broadband to the people who have been left behind by the larger networks, ensuring that those in rural areas and towns have the ability to access the best broadband speeds and live their digital lives fully. We’re delighted that Gresham House recognise the importance of ensuring local people are connected and have committed to this long term partnership.”

Peter Bachmann, MD of Sustainable Infrastructure at Gresham House and Fund Manager of BSIF, added:

“Alex and the GoFibre team have impressed us with their ambition, teamwork and ability to deliver on their plans. This is the largest investment the BSIF has made in fibre infrastructure which is testament to our confidence in Borderlink’s plans. I would like to thank John Seed for his great contribution in maturing the company and we look forward to working with Chris and the team moving forward.”

As part of all this, Borderlink plans to recruit another 100 employees to add to the 70 hired since April 2021, bringing the total to 200 staff. On top of that, they’ll also open new offices in Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh, which should help to bring further economic benefits to the region.

Residential customers of the new service can expect to pay from £32 per month on a 24-month contract for a download speed of 120Mbps (50Mbps upload) with unlimited usage (Fair Usage Policy) and free installation, which will rise to £78 per month for their top 600Mbps (50Mbps upload) tier.

However, there are other gigabit-capable networks currently being expanded across some of the same areas, such as those from Openreach, Virgin Media (VMO2), Lothian Broadband and others. Suffice to say that BorderLink probably won’t have it all to themselves, but nevertheless, it’s great to see another serious alternative network cropping up in Scotland.

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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.
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10 Responses
  1. Anthony Goodman says:

    After what felt like the North of England being the only area of the country being completely ignored in the FTTP rollout. It seems its an absolute hotbed of activity now.

  2. Diogo says:

    Why doesn’t the Scottish government fund their own broadband? Constantly whinging about England and wanting to leave the union but they get £5bn spent on their broadband. Will they give it all back if they leave?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      If you mean the £5bn for Project Gigabit, that’s for the whole of the UK and we don’t yet known how much will be allocated to Scotland.

      Plus, in fairness to the Scottish Government, the vast majority of funding for their current £600m R100 broadband programme (mostly deploying FTTP) does not come from the UK government. Only a smaller slice does.

  3. QwertyISP says:

    Some incredible numbers that are being announed. I wonder how many will deploy all funds and how many will be sold onto other Alt-nets.

    1. yeehaa says:

      Undoubtedly the end game for a lot of the ones owned by private equity companies will be to float on the stock exchange or sell/merge with other companies. Once the majority of fibre is built out by the end of this decade most alt-nets will have been taken over/merged into larger groups. Although I imagine they’ll be some smaller community networks that aren’t as commercially lucrative to the bigger fish, that will probably still be around in 2030 as well.

  4. Guest says:

    Wonder what places in East Lothian will be visited?

  5. Peter says:

    Man I wish they would do Gorebridge here in Midlothian, all the above so far seem to be in east lothian area 🙁

    For some reason BT hasn’t even looked at further south than Dalkieth area and thats for within the next 6 years!!!

    Virgin Media didn’t even bother finishing Gorebridge due to Covid and stopped about about 50% deployed, that being said from all the noise I have hard the service is chronically bad these days.

    1. Declan m says:

      Virgin will finish off gorebridge they are still infilling parts of Dalkeit (Eskbank, cowden in woodburn and newbattle bide your time it’s worth it in the end having fttp

    2. Tom says:

      I spoke to a Virgin rep last year after they built right up to my street and stopped. She said Gorebridge is part of their plan and will be finished, so it’s just a matter of time I hope…

  6. Niall Whyte says:

    One can only hope they treat their fibre customers better than their wireless broadband customers. I have an online business and was left without phones or broadband for 4 weeks after the storm and even now it is sketchy at best.

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