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Fibre start-up receives funding for UK roll-out

News

toob, a UK-based full fibre broadband start-up has secured a £75 million (€87 million) funding package from the National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF) to support the build-out of its new gigabit-capable fibre network.

The government-backed £400 million fund, set up in 2017 and managed by Amber Infrastructure Group, was established to invest in optical fibre-based networks and related enabling infrastructure to boost connectivity in the UK.

toob is the latest of the UK’s so-called alternative networks or ‘alt nets’ to receive funding for fibre expansion. CityFibre, Hyperoptic and Gigaclear have all received significant investment to fast-track fibre.

Existing infrastructure

toob expects to deliver gigabit broadband speeds to more than 100,000 premises by the end of 2021, with an ambition to expand its full fibre network to reach more than one million homes and business premises over the next ten years.

To speed up the roll-out and reduce community disruption, toob will deploy the latest fibre technology over existing infrastructure. It expects to be a major customer of Openreach’s improved ducts and pole access (PIA) product, which is set to become fully available at the beginning of April.

toob was founded and is led by Nick Parbutt (CEO) and Mike Banwell (CFO), former Directors at Vodafone UK. Charles McGregor, recent Chairman of Gigaclear, and former founder and CEO of Fibrenet, has joined as Chairman.

Nick Parbutt said, “toob now has the right people, the right plan and the right funding in place to capitalise on the exciting opportunity ahead of us. We want to enable families, businesses and communities to live, work and play in ways which are only made possible with the advent of gigabit broadband.”

Upgrading digital infrastructure

Matthew Vickerstaff, interim chief executive officer, Infrastructure and Projects Authority, commented, “This investment shows how the National Digital Infrastructure Fund continues to help companies improve broadband speeds across cities and towns in the UK, by increasing their access to private finance.  Upgrading our digital infrastructure to be reliable, sustainable and resilient is key to meeting the needs of an increasingly digital world, and increasing our productivity.”

Amber Infrastructure has backed several other ultrafast connectivity players, including London-focused Community Fibre, rural provider Airband Community Internet, and wholesale and custom fibre broadband infrastructure company, Nextgenaccess.