UK Broadband Gets Boost From Internet Providers

U.K.-based broadband provider Truespeed announced Tuesday (Jan. 4) that it has secured a 100 million pound ($135.2 million) capital injection from global asset management company Aviva Investors to connect more people in underserved locations in the United Kingdom to ultrafast broadband.

The fresh funding, which follows an initial 75 million pound backing from Aviva Investors in 2017, will help Truespeed accelerate its delivery of “ultrafast, gigabit-capable full fibre network” to more homes and businesses across urban, semi-rural and ultra-rural areas of South West England, the country’s largest peninsula.

Commenting on the raise, Truespeed CEO James Lowther said this second tranche of funding from Aviva will allow the company to “significantly accelerate our roll-out, enabling us to connect more customers to our ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre service.”

Lowther added: “We are now an established and fast-growing employer in the region [South West England] with a reputation for excellent staff training and personal development. It is a privilege to lead the business as we embark on our next phase of growth.”

According to Sean McLachlan, senior director, infrastructure, at Aviva Investors, this additional funding reflects “our belief that the company [Truespeed] and its activities not only represent a sound investment, but also creates significant social benefits for local communities across the country.”

Founded in 2014, the Bath-based infrastructure provider and internet service provider (ISP) is focused on helping to boost digital capabilities for local businesses and communities across the South West region of the U.K. struggling with slow, unreliable broadband.

Read more: Initiative Aims To ‘Future-Proof’ Broadband Internet Access

After sufficient demand is made in an area via online requests, the company moves to set up a Truespeed network by installing full-fiber infrastructure such as underground cables to connect the area to the internet.

In the past year, Truespeed has expanded its footprint, reaching more underserved rural and city communities. In January 2021, the firm was selected by a government-backed program to rollout full-fiber broadband across Devon and Somerset to more than 56,000 rural homes and businesses by 2024.

And in December the firm announced that it had started rollout of its network build in Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet and Street, connecting more than 15,000 premises across these three areas to Truespeed’s network infrastructure. The company has also been awarded contracts to build its full-fiber infrastructure in the heritage cities of Bath and Wells, and has since 2014 rolled out its network to over 200 communities across the United Kingdom.

Truespeed is not the only ISP working to connect areas in the United Kingdom to ultrafast broadband. Digital infrastructure provider Openreach, which has the biggest broadband network in the U.K., announced last April that it was going to invest more than 100 million pounds over a 12-month period to connect 100,000 premises in Northern Ireland, including those in rural areas, to its network.

Bringing full-fiber broadband to the whole of the U.K. has been a key part of the agenda of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with his administration pledging to achieve universal full-fiber broadband coverage across the country by 2025.

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