G.Network has raised £1 billion to invest in its full fibre network in the UK, including £295 million from the university pension scheme USS, along with loans from Investec and NatWest totaling £745 million.
G.Network is working with 8 local authorities, and looking to work with 5 more, to connect 80% of the premises in their area to its gigabit, open access network. In the next five years, it will lay 4,500 kilmetres of fibre, with its network reaching 1.4 million premises in London’s underserved areas. The rollout will create 1,250 new jobs and bring fast, competitively-priced broadband to London’s residents and businesses
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, said: “This fantastic investment in our capital is a welcome boost to the government’s national mission to revolutionise Britain’s digital infrastructure. It 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 over a million premises while also creating hundreds of new jobs.”
Simon Pilcher of USS Investment said his fund’s investment was the latest in a series of long-term UK investments. “We look forward to partnering with the G.Network management team and Cube to provide Londoners with the first class fibre network they need whilst generating long-term returns to provide a better financial future for our members,” he commented.
G.Networks is led by Macedonian-British telecoms entrepreneur Sasho Veselinski, David Sangster (who launched the Mercury network) and Sean Williams (who was previously chief strategy officer at BT). It currently offers speeds between 100Mbit/s and 10Gbit/s, with tariffs starting from £22 per month in Camden, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Islington, Lambeth, Kensington & Chelsea, Tower Hamlets and Westminster. It will now expand its offering to Barnet, Haringey, Lewisham, Southwark and Wandsworth.
Along with CityFibre, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and CommunityFibre, it is one of the altnets that are racing to connect the UK to full fibre broadband and which according to INCA have collectively raised more than £8.5 billion to do so. With Virgin Media investing £3 billion in Project Lightning and Openreach £12 billion, UK streets are currently being laid, if not paved, with telecoms gold.
COVID-19 and Bexit haven’t slowed down telecoms investment in the UK – if anything they have accelerated it. The sheer amount of money being invested in connecting the UK’s homes and businesses to full fibre is a vote of confidence in its digital future and a major boost to the competitiveness of UK businesses.