In what is described as the largest ever capital raise for UK full-fibre deployment, CityFibre has announced a further equity commitment of £300m from its existing shareholder, Mubadala Investment Company, and has revealed a major development stage in its roll-out of gigabit broadband in the city of Portsmouth.
Under the infrastructure vertical of the UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership, the new equity commitment builds on Mubadala’s initial £500m investment into CityFibre as part of a wider financing in September 2021. The financing saw Mubadala and Interogo Holding join existing investors Antin Infrastructure Partners and the infrastructure business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Combined, these investments now bring the total raised by CityFibre in the last six months to £1.425bn, which the company claims is the largest-ever financing of its kind in its business sector.
“Mubadala’s confidence in our business is testament to our growing momentum and progress,” said CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch. “The need and appetite for carrier-neutral wholesale network competition at scale is clear, and CityFibre continues to demonstrate the benefits as a driver of wider investment, improved services and better value. With Mubadala’s continued support, we are well funded to deliver the UK’s finest full-fibre network and help to level up the UK.”
CityFibre describes itself as the UK’s sole wholesale-only, carrier-neutral operator, providing consumer and business internet service provider (ISP) partners, service integrators and mobile operators with access to full-fibre infrastructure. Its new city-wide networks are designed to underpin the digital requirements of all market verticals, including public sector and business, as well as enabling the roll-out of 5G services and other smart city initiatives.
The new equity investment will also support CityFibre’s accelerated growth plans and enable participation in Building Digital UK’s (BDUK) Project Gigabit rural programme. CityFibre is currently engaged in a £4bn investment programme to roll out dense full-fibre infrastructure to up to eight million homes by 2025. This roll-out continues to accelerate, with deployments under way across more than 60 major metro areas, spanning 285 cities, towns and villages.
One such location is Portsmouth and now internet users across most of the south of the city are able to connect their homes and businesses to CityFibre’s full-fibre network roll-out.
The majority of homes in the Southsea, Fratton, Milton, Eastney, Copnor and Burrfields areas of Portsmouth are “ready for service”, which means residents can choose to connect to the full-fibre-enabled broadband services on offer in their area.
Customers can sign up to UK launch partners Vodafone, TalkTalk, IDNet, Digital Homes and Giganet, with other providers expected to join the network soon. The roll-out is now progressing into new areas in the north of the city with construction well under way in Hilsea and Anchorage Park. Last year, CityFibre laid 315km of full-fibre digital infrastructure in Portsmouth.
Construction is being delivered by CNN Communications on behalf of CityFibre as part of an infrastructure project valued at £32m.