Gigaclear Secures £1.5bn Debt Facility to Propel Rural Broadband Expansion

Gigaclear, the leading alternative network provider for full fibre broadband in rural UK areas, has successfully secured a new debt facility amounting to £1.5 billion, marking a significant move in its commitment to enhancing broadband accessibility in underserved rural communities.

Since its inception in 2010, Gigaclear has been dedicated to extending its full fibre broadband network to rural areas with limited access. Presently, the network spans across 26 counties, serving over 500,000 premises.

The newly acquired debt facility is structured with an upfront component of approximately £1 billion and an uncommitted accordion of around £500 million. A consortium of banks, including ABN AMRO, Credit Industriel et Commercial, HSBC, Kommunalkredit, LBBW, Lloyds, NatWest, NAB, NIBC, and SEB, provided the facility. Additionally, the UK Infrastructure Bank contributed by offering a guarantee product covering £240 million of commitments.

This substantial financial boost is earmarked to expedite Gigaclear’s long-term strategy of reaching over a million rural premises by the year 2027. The company has been relentless in its efforts, and this latest development aligns with its mission to bridge the digital divide in remote areas.

In the preceding month of November, Gigaclear secured two contracts totaling £26.5 million, as part of the government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit programme. These contracts are specifically aimed at connecting approximately 10,000 homes and businesses in hard-to-reach locations within rural Oxfordshire. This recent injection of funds will undoubtedly bolster Gigaclear’s capacity to fulfill its commitments under these contracts.

Rothschild & Co and Latham & Watkins provided advisory services to Gigaclear during this transaction, with legal counsel to the lenders being managed by Clifford Chance. This strategic move signifies Gigaclear’s proactive approach in securing the necessary financial backing to drive its ambitious rural broadband expansion plans.

Max Walker

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