New alternative network operator Spring Fibre has announced that they’ve secured an investment of “up to” £155 million from R&M’s (River and Mercantile) Infrastructure business, which will support their plan to build a new 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network to cover 1 million premises in England.
The new operator – initially backed by Kingsley Capital Partners and telecoms specialist Graphite Strategy – first came to our attention in April last year after they informed Ofcom of their tentative plan to rollout a new full fibre network (here), mainly to areas served only by slower FTTC (VDSL2) lines from Openreach. The network would then be made available to other ISPs on a wholesale basis.
The trail then went cold, until this week when R&M‘s new Infrastructure investment business – largely supported by former figures from Aviva Investors – suddenly unveiled a huge funding commitment for the project. Not too shabby for an operator that has yet to make its mark on the market, at least in terms of a physical network build.
According to the blurb, “Spring Fibre’s plans are to create a network rising to more than 1 million premises passed over time. Spring Fibre targets areas with poor internet provision and will deliver a major boost to many under-served communities and businesses.”
We can estimate that the level of committed funding would, if fully realised, be enough to deliver roughly a quarter of their network delivery target (around 250,000 premises) – depending on the balance of rural to urban deployments. But at present nothing is known about their rollout plan or the timescales for delivery, while Spring Fibre’s website is still just a holding page.
The new operator will also be entering into an already grossly overcrowded AltNet market, which has seen a rising level of network overbuild over the past year and a growing expectation of future consolidation. Suffice to say that Spring Fibre will find early life a bit harder than those that came before, but at least they’ve got that all important funding box ticked.
R&M was advised by Analysys Mason, CMS and PKF Francis Clark; Spring Fibre was advised by Acuity Advisors and Thrings, and Spring Fibre’s founder shareholders were advised by Gateley. ISPreview