Macquarie to invest in UK rural broadband

Investment outfit Macquarie Capital is to invest in UK rural high-speed broadband business Voneus with an initial commitment of £10 million and the potential to invest up to £30 million in phases.

Proceeds will be used to refinance debt and support the roll out of further high-speed broadband to communities in rural parts of the UK, the company said.

Voneus is focusing on bringing fibre to up to 900,000 homes across the UK countryside who don’t have access to high-speed broadband services,.

Since its establishment in 2015, Voneus has installed superfast broadband in around 4,000 homes and businesses in 25 rural communities with a footprint that covers Lancashire and Yorkshire as well as the Cotswolds and Devon. The business has a pipeline of future projects that will be supported by ongoing investment from Macquarie Capital.

The business uses Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology to provide broadband of 30 to 50 Mbps to rural homes and businesses.

While FWA provides an immediate solution to poor broadband, Macquarie Capital’s investment will be used to help it connect its more established communities to full fibre broadband, enabling homes and businesses to receive up to 1Gbs speeds.

Steve Leighton, CEO of Voneus said: “Macquarie Capital’s backing is a huge endorsement of Voneus’ business model and vision, as well as an indication of how much work still needs to be done to connect the many homes and business across the UK  that still do not have access to decent broadband services.Not only will it help us speed up the rollout of fixed wireless services in hard-to-reach communities, it means that – longer term – we will be able to add full fibre broadband to our portfolio; this will be a complete game-changer for these hitherto neglected areas.”

Oliver Bradley, the managing director who led the transaction for Macquarie Capital said: “The rollout of superfast and ultrafast broadband has too often focused on the UK’s urban centres – leaving untapped investment requirements in the UK’s rural communities. We believe that using Macquarie Capital’s unique principal investment and development expertise there is a significant opportunity to work with Voneus to accelerate the deployment of UK rural broadband, this will help unlock significant economic and social benefits for the UK.”

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