CityFibre could expand its full fiber deployment to 10 million homes and businesses across the UK if it completes the sale of a 30% stake in the company to a private equity firm.
The two main shareholders of the company – Wall Street Infrastructure Partners and Antin Infrastructure Partners – control 70% of the company but according to Sunday mail¸ CityFibre is set to sell the remaining 20% for £ 1 billion.
CityFibre does not offer products aimed directly at consumers, but rather provides wholesale services to broadband providers, such as TalkTalk and Vodafone, and to mobile operators who require fiber backhaul for their mobile sites.
It is the UK’s third-largest network infrastructure operator, after Openreach and Virgin Media, and is currently in the midst of a £ 4 billion program that will see 8 million properties connected by 2025. This represents a third of the country and includes 800,000 companies, 400,000 public sector sites and 250,000 5G access points.
The wider availability of fiber and increased competition among infrastructure providers are expected to translate into better home broadband services and superior 5G networks.
CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch told the newspaper he could increase his goal to the aforementioned 10 million if he received the additional investment and succeeded in his public funding offer.
The UK government has released £ 5bn to help connect the UK’s most rural areas to super-fast broadband, although only a fraction of that is available during the current parliament.
The Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System is named as one of the interested bidders, but Mesch reportedly said that up to 20 different private equity firms wanted to get involved in the deployment of fiber infrastructure in the UK.
There has been a wave of investment in the sector by private equity firms in recent years due to the predictable and stable revenues promised by assets such as fiber networks and mobile antennas. At the same time, the demand for super-fast broadband and 5G means there is room for growth.
This long-term view contrasts with the short-term pressures that network investments place on mobile operators who are in the midst of expensive network builds.
By mail on Sunday