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CityFibre raises a further £4.9 billion to fully finance its full fibre ambitions

UK fibre infrastructure player CityFibre has managed to borrow almost 5 billion quid, which means its full fibre rollout is now fully financed.

The plan is to connect 8m homes, 800k businesses, 400k public sector sites and 250k 5G access points to full fibre and kind of rollout doesn’t come cheap. When CityFibre boasted of raising £1.5 billion earlier this year there was little sign that it would need to triple that amount to be sure of getting the job done, but so it seems.

Specifically, the debt package consists of £3.9 billion in committed debt and an ‘accordion facility’ (which just seems to be a silly name for a flexible loan or an option to borrow) of a further bil. Most of the money has been raised from well-known banks across Europe, as well as M&G investments and the recently established UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB).

“With our rollout now fully financed, backed by so many esteemed financial institutions, we have emerged as a strong national challenger,” said CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch. “But CityFibre’s aim is not simply to challenge. It’s to be better. It’s to establish ourselves as the preferred network wherever we build, bringing higher-quality, more affordable infrastructure within reach of millions and unleashing the transformative economic potential of full fibre to help level up the UK. We have never been more confident that we will succeed.”

“We are pleased to act as a cornerstone investor in what will be the largest digital debt transaction in the UK market to date, connecting a third of UK households with fast and reliable broadband throughout England and Scotland,” said John Flint, CEO of UKIB. “It is clear how important good quality connectivity is for the UK economy, and in addressing regional inequalities.”

Apparently, all this extra wedge also enables CityFibre to ‘upweight’ (another silly word, which just seems to mean ‘increase’) its participation in BDUK’s ‘Project Gigabit’ rural programme. This presumably means it qualifies for a bit more public money to help its fibre rollout reach more remote locations. Any doubt that CityFibre means business is surely removed by this massive cash injection, which cements its position alongside Openreach and VMO2 as a top UK fibre player.

 

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