London ISP Community Fibre Raise £50m to Extend FTTH Broadband

community fibre trench dig

Gigabit broadband UK ISP Community Fibre, which currently aims to bring their “full fibre” network to more than 500,000 premises (homes and businesses) across London by 2022, has today secured an extra £50m of funding from its two institutional investors – RPMI and Amber Infrastructure – to help support their plans.

The extra funding is on top of the £18m through the Government supported National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF) and £7m from private equity investment via Railpen (UK pension scheme) that was committed in 2018 (here), which was itself built on top of another 2017 investment of £11.3m via Railpen (here). The aim of this was largely to help them achieve their initial target of 100,000 premises by the end of 2019.

NOTE: Overall CF has raised £90m over the past 3 years and say they’re “on track to pass” 500,000 premises.

At present the provider has already completed the deployment of their Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network to cover 70,000 premises in London (i.e. 100K looks likely to be achieved), which predominantly includes social / council housing. All of this is being supported by ADTRAN’s Symmetric Passive Optical Network (XGS-PON) technologies.

The additional investment should thus enable Community Fibre to “expedite its ambitious capital-wide growth strategy” (they’ve already signed wayleaves with 8 Borough Councils and 9 Housing Associations, including 50% of London’s top ten landlords) beyond the first 100,000 premises target.

Chris Sellers, Chair of Community Fibre, said:

“This latest round of investment clearly demonstrates a strong vote of confidence in both our success so far and our plans for future growth. Graeme joins us at a point when the business has built a solid foundation and is ready to achieve scale. As the world of fibre converges into other areas, his proven track record as a mobile and telecoms leader will bring exactly the experience Community Fibre needs to expand into new areas.”

Khalid Naqib, Head of Digital Investment at Amber Infrastructure, said:

“Since our first investment in Community Fibre last year, the business has matured rapidly and scaled its rollout four-fold. We see enormous potential for it to grow further and faster and we will continue to help ensure it has all the resources it needs to achieve its ambition of delivering a full fibre future for all of London.”

Richard Moon, Investment Director at RPMI, said:

“Given the full fibre multi-play opportunities emerging in the market, Community Fibre is clearly well-positioned to build upon its already impressive growth. With the extra resources at its disposal and dynamic new leadership in place, we look forward to quickly making London a Gigafast city.”

We should add that the provider’s former CEO, Jeremy Chelot, similarly informed last year (here) that he also aspired to extend their network to cover more than 1 million UK premises with 10Gbps capable broadband by 2025. The funding doesn’t yet exist to do that but they’re now well on their way.

In addition to the latest round of funding, Community Fibre has also announced the appointment of Graeme Oxby as its new CEO, to start in August 2019. Graeme has over 25 years of telecommunications experience gained with Cable & Wireless, Three UK, Virgin Media, and more recently as MD of European Mobile at Liberty Global and CEO at Lebara.

Customers of CF’s packages tend to pay from just £20 per month for a 40Mbps service and this rises to £50 for a 920Mbps (average speed) connection, which includes free installation and unlimited usage (the speeds are symmetric – same speed both ways).

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