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Full Fibre UK ISP Wessex Internet Get Funding Boost from abrdn

Tuesday, Sep 27th, 2022 (12:13 pm) - Score 1,024

Rural broadband ISP Wessex Internet, which is building a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across parts of Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Somerset in England, has today announced that they’ve secured a “major equity investment” from abrdn’s Core Infrastructure team to “accelerate” their rollout.

The provider has recently been making good progress on their commercial builds, and they’ve also been particularly successful in securing a number of key state aid supported full fibre deployment contracts, such as the recent Project Gigabit win in North Dorset (here) and their extended contract with the Devon and Somerset scheme (here).

Despite this, Wessex Internet has tended to be a bit coy when talking about their existing funding and future coverage goals, and today’s announcement partly follows that trend. We’re told that abrdn has made a “major” equity investment, but no figures were given. Likewise, we’re told that this will “accelerate” their rollout, but it’s difficult to judge this when we don’t know what their previous target and timescales were.

However, today’s announcement does state that their existing network footprint covers “tens of thousands of homes” (some of this may relate to their older Fixed Wireless Access network) and their business plan now targets an “additional150,000 premises by 2027, through a combination of subsidised and unsubsidised capital investment.

Dominic Helmsley, Head of abrdn Core Infrastructure, said:

“We are committed to delivering reliable and essential infrastructure to local communities. This investment is our second UK rural fibre investment and underpins our core capabilities and ambitions in real assets.”

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO of Wessex Internet, said:

“Wessex Internet is a local Dorset company; our fantastic team has already built a track record of delivering outstanding products and exceptional service through our collaborative approach to full fibre rollout into underserved rural communities. This investment from abrdn is a demonstration of the success of our differentiated strategy. As we accelerate our rollout, we will fulfil our vision of connecting the rest of the communities within our region, creating a truly local broadband operator with a trusted brand that fully understands its customer base. We are hugely excited about working with the abrdn Core Infrastructure investment team to build on our reputation as we enter this next phase of growth.”

Apparently, this is the first investment funded by abrdn’s third Core Infrastructure Fund, ASCI III, which is raising a target €1 billion to invest in the Pan-European infrastructure mid-market, and follows on from the final investment in abrdn’s second Core Infrastructure Fund, SLCI II, which invested in the German train rolling stock sector.

Prices for their full fibre packages usually start at £29 per month for a 100Mbps (15Mbps upload) tier on a 12-month term, but this only comes with a meagre 100GB data allowance (£44 for unlimited), and you’ll have to pay £49 (one-off) for activation. By comparison, their top unlimited usage package will give you 900Mbps (300Mbps upload) for £84 per month, which is fairly expensive by today’s standards, albeit still a godsend if nobody else can supply you with FTTP.

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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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