Gee whiz: G.Network raises $1.3B for full fiber rollout in London | Light Reading

Gee whiz: G.Network raises $1.3B for full fiber rollout in London | Light Reading

Through a mixture of debt and equity, UK altnet G.Network has raised in excess of 1 billion (US$1.3 billion) to expand its “full fiber” rollout in London.

A debt facility of 745 million ($997 million) was secured through four banks, which is contingent on passing “certain milestones.”

The UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which reportedly has assets of around $67 billion ($90 billion), is in for almost 300 million ($402 million) in exchange for an undisclosed stake in the altnet. USS payments will be staggered over six years, also apparently in line with agreed targets.

G.Network, according to the Financial Times (paywall applies), has so far passed 150,000 premises with fiber in London. With the meaty cash injection, however, the aim is to pass 1.4 million premises over the next five years.

The project looks a huge undertaking, with around 4,500km of streets to be dug up. G.Network currently works with eight local authorities, but expansion will see that number rise to 13. The aim is to connect at least 80% of premises in each of the 13 London “boroughs.”

Open for business

G.Network emphasised that the expanded full-fiber network will be “open access,” allowing other service providers to use the infrastructure. Whether or not G.Network will continue with its own retail offerings, in parallel with the open access business model, was not made clear.

According to the altnet, rollout expansion will create more than 1,250 new jobs.

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Oliver Dowden, the UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, crowed that G.Network “will give London a much-needed helping hand as we race to build back better from the impact of COVID and upgrade broadband speeds for well more than a million premises while also creating hundreds of new jobs.”

USS joins Cube Infrastructure Managers as a controlling investor in G.Network. The Luxembourg-based investor backed the altnet two years ago.

Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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