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CityFibre Put GBP500m Towards Ultrafast Broadband Rollout to 1Million UK Homes

Posted: 03rd Nov, 2011 By: MarkJ
fibre optic cable i3groupcityfibre holdings ukCityFibre Holdings Ltd., which recently took on responsibility for the completion of an unfinished 100Mbps capable fibre optic ( FTTH ) broadband ISP network in Bournemouth (Dorset), has announced that it will invest up to £500 million in order to rollout similar services to connect UK local authorities, 50000 businesses and one million homes.

The effort could help to create "thousands of jobs" and will be supported by newly appointed "advisor" Macquarie Capital (MC), which specialises in corporate finance and should help the project to raise new capital. MC has experience in large-scale telecoms infrastructure, such as with Telstra and Australia's NBN project.

Greg Mesch, CityFibre’s CEO, commented:

"I am delighted to be working with such an experienced financial institution. Macquarie’s deep knowledge of financing infrastructure projects is coupled with a strong and experienced telecoms banking team that will be a great asset to ensure we achieve our goal of accelerating fibre optic network deployment throughout the UK.

CityFibre looks forward to engaging with local authorities and business across the country to deliver new fibre networks that can power the next generation of public services and cloud based business networks."

Bill Kennish, Head of Telecoms, Media and Technology at Macquarie Capital (Europe), added:

"We are pleased to work with CityFibre as it seeks to further develop its fibre optic infrastructure in selected UK markets, given the substantial unmet demand for superfast broadband services. We look forward to bringing our extensive telecoms infrastructure financing experience to CityFibre as it takes the next steps in its development."

CityFibre's goal is to build both further citywide metro fibre and pure 100Mbps to 1000Mbps (1Gbps) capable Fibre-to-the-Premises ( FTTP ) networks, which will be used by "leading" ISPs (they've yet to announce any big ISP partners beyond a couple of niche operators), businesses, home users and local authorities.

Rollout of the new service is expected to commence in early 2012 and will build upon its completed dark fibre style networks in York, Ayr and Dundee (not to be confused with domestic platforms); not to mention the troubled FTTH project for 24,000 homes in Bournemouth; our recent CityFibre Interview covered that in more detail.

CityFibre Holdings has so far been successful in turning around the financial disaster left by the i3 Group's similar attempts (here). Hopefully Macquarie Capital doesn't end up making the same mistakes as Total Asset Finance (TAF), which ended in an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

UPDATE 2:19pm

In related news Ofcom has today published a consultation on applying the electronic communications code to CityFibre Metro Networks Limited under section 107(6) of the Communications Act 2003. If approved, this will give the company powers to carry out street works in relation to the rollout of fibre-based telecoms networks in the UK (here). The end date is 5th December 2011.
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