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Hyperoptic unveils UK expansion plans after raising £250mn

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Full-fibre broadband provider Hyperoptic has unveiled plans to expand its services to an additional 50 towns and cities through the UK after it completed a debt raise of £250 million.

Claiming this is the largest single investment in the UK for a full-fibre optic network provider, companies like Openreach don’t fall into the full-fibre definition, the plan is to reach five million homes by 2025. Hyperoptic claims to currently have nearly half a million homes and businesses using its 1 Gbps broadband service.

“Such large financial backing from prestigious investors is testament to the strength of Hyperoptic’s business model and proven track record for delivery,” said CEO Dana Tobak. “All our teams are forging ahead with one rally cry: Let’s Gigabit Britain.”

“Hyperoptic has the vision, determination and means to lead the rollout of gigabit connectivity across this country, and smash the digital divide once and for all,” said Hyperoptic Chairman, Boris Ivanovic. “I am proud that we have led by results. This latest round of funding is a tremendous recognition of our achievement and provides the impetus for making Hyperoptic the premier full fibre national network.”

Hyperoptic was advised by LionTree Advisors and the deal was co-led by BNP Paribas and ING, with a funding club of eight Tier 1 banks; Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe General, Royal Bank of Canada, HSH Nordbank, NIBC, and Barclays. Last year the company also received £100 million in funding to accelerate the build of its full-fibre network.

The cash itself will be used to hire an additional 1500 employees, more than doubling its current 600 staff across five offices, with plans to recruit at least a further 400 employees by the end of this year and another 1,000 by the end of 2019. Over the last 12 months, Hyperoptic has expanded its network to 10 additional UK towns and cities, and signed contracts in a further 14, taking the total north of 50. These funds will also be used to meet these commitments.

Fibre connectivity in the UK has certainly been sluggish to date, Ofcom suggests less than 4% of UK homes are currently hooked up, though the progress of alt-nets such as Hyperoptic and CityFibre are certainly putting forward a challenge to the status quo. Openreach certainly has the scale, but it remains to be seen whether positive moves from challenger business provides the kick the incumbent so desperately needs.

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