Freedom Fibre raises £100m for North West roll-out

Freedom Fibre CEO Neil McArthur

Greater Manchester-based Freedom Fibre said it has secured £100 million of scale-up funding as the first step in its rollout in the North West of England.

The funding includes an £84 million investment from infrastructure investor Equitix.

Santander Bank has signed a £16 million debt facility with Freedom Fibre, which takes the total funding commitment to £100 million.

The cash will accelerate the roll-out of FTTP (fiber to the premises) by Freedom Fibre, predominantly through the installation of fibre across BT’s existing infrastructure.

Freedom Fibre is already offering ultra-fast broadband to almost 20,000 homes across parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester through its extensive use of BT ducts and poles.

The company is on track to reach 70,000 premises by the end of this year and expects to boost customer penetration through its wholesale agreement with TalkTalk to use its fibre optic connections.

Freedom Fibre will be seeking to add other broadband service providers over time as it scales.

The company’s ultimate business plan is to reach more than two million premises in its chosen locations.

Equitix CEO Hugh Crossley said: “We are looking forward to investing in and developing Freedom Fibre’s network roll-out.

“We believe Freedom Fibre is a strong business, operating in an essential infrastructure sector that has a critical role in providing connectivity for both the people and the economy of the North West.

“This sizeable investment further enhances Equitix’s network infrastructure that distributes essential utilities to over 6.3 million customers across the UK and Europe.

“Freedom Fibre’s network roll-out will continue our strategic aims to provide local communities with affordable, high-quality essential infrastructure.”

Freedom Fibre CEO Neil McArthur said: “Freedom Fibre firmly believes Full Fibre should be a right, accessible to all, and not a privilege.

“This new funding is enabling us to support our long-term ambition to take fibre off the beaten track to semi-urban areas, providing fast, reliable connectivity with the best possible customer experience.

“We are excited to be driving forward our strategy to create an affordable, optical fibre network which will last for generations.”

Freedom Fibre was advised by Oakley Advisory Limited and by Addleshaw Goddard LLP, along with PWC Debt advisory. Equitix was advised by Cameron Barney and by Shoosmiths LLP.