UKIB Commit £150m to Hyperoptic’s UK Full Fibre Broadband Rollout

City-focused gigabit broadband ISP Hyperoptic, which has now built a full fibre (FTTP/B) network to cover “more than” 1.73 million homes across parts of 64 UK towns and cities (up from 1.6m on 3rd June 2024), has today secured £150m from the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) to help “accelerate” their network expansion.

The operator, which is now home to a broadband customer base of 340,000 (up from 300,000 on 5th Oct 2023) and is targeting 500,000 for the future, was previously known to be aiming to cover 2 million premises with their gigabit broadband network by some point in 2024 (the previous goal was to hit this at the end of 2023). The latest progress and funding boost suggests they could get close to this target by the end of the year.

NOTE: KKR acquired a majority (75%) equity stake in Hyperoptic during 2019 (here) and the operator, which is home to c. 2,000 staff, has now increased their committed debt facility to over £1.1bn.

Today’s news means that the alternative network provider has raised an additional £255m of debt facilities this year, which is despite the persistence of stubbornly high interest rates that tends to choke the pursuit of fresh investment. The positive development follows a report in February 2024 that claimed the operator was attempting to raise up to £500m of additional capital in order to continue their expansion (here), as well as last year’s redundancies and build disruption (here).

According to today’s announcement, Hyperoptic said their “planned roll out” would now be “placing particular emphasis on connecting more people to the network, bridging the digital divide and providing essential connectivity to communities nationwide.” In particular, they noted that this plan would include a continued focus on connecting social housing premises, which will give more homes access to their cheaper ‘social tariff‘.

Dana Tobak CBE, CEO and Co-Founder of Hyperoptic, said:

“Since 2011, we’ve been on a mission to bring ultra-reliable, hyperfast full fibre broadband to businesses and consumers across urban areas and new developments in the UK. We’re acutely aware of the government’s target to achieve 99% gigabit-capable broadband coverage by 2030 and, as an industry, we still have some way to go to achieve it. We welcome the support of the UK Infrastructure Bank, together with other investors, enabling us to continue delivering award-winning gigabit-capable broadband to more people across the UK every day.”

Ian Brown, Head of Banking & Investments at UKIB, said:

“Reliable internet connectivity is increasingly important to participate in the modern economy and drive forward the UK’s net zero and regional growth ambitions. Our investment in Hyperoptic will ensure that the scale and pace of the full fibre rollout is sustained, specifically in those areas where it’s needed the most, opening up opportunity for numerous communities across the UK. We hope that our commitment will help mobilise further private debt financing for Hyperoptic’s continued network expansion.”

Hyperoptic’s most recent set of annual results, which run to the end of 2022, reported revenue of £78.7m (up from £65.1m) and a gross profit of £62.3m (up from £52.5m), with an Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of £26.7 (largely unchanged). But the company also invested £175.4m to grow their fibre network in 2022 (up from £103.1m). The next set of results is due in a few short months.

Residential customers of their service tend to pay from £28 per month for a symmetric speed of 50Mbps on a 24-month term (£30 thereafter), which rises to £39 for 900Mbps (£63 thereafter). The packages also attract a £19 one-off activation fee. Shorter contract options (12 months and 30 days) are available at extra cost, as are phone services.

In addition, two social tariffs on 30-day terms are available for those on state benefits, which will give you 50Mbps for just £15 per month or 150Mbps for just £20 per month – both with free activation.

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