Macquarie Capital partners with rural superfast broadband expert Voneus
London, 05 Aug 2019
- Macquarie Capital is to invest in UK rural superfast broadband business Voneus.
- Voneus uses Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology to provide superfast broadband (30 to 50 Mbps) to rural homes and businesses in the UK.
- Voneus will focus on up to 900,000 homes across the UK countryside who still don’t have access to Superfast broadband services
- In the medium term, the business aims to transition its FWA customers to future-proof full fibre networks
Macquarie Capital, the corporate advisory, capital markets and principal investment arm of Macquarie Group (Macquarie), is to invest in rural superfast broadband business Voneus Limited (Voneus), with an initial commitment of £10m and the potential to invest up to £30m 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.
Only five percent of UK homes have access to full fibre infrastructure, Voneus will focus on the up to 900,000 homes across the UK countryside who still don’t have access to Superfast 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 robust pipeline of future projects which will be supported by ongoing investment from Macquarie Capital.
The business uses Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology to quickly provide superfast broadband (30 to 50 Mbps) to rural homes and businesses. FWA provides an attractive alternative to the traditional copper networks that rural homes and businesses often have to rely on. The business specializes in non-intrusive technology which has been installed on churches, listed buildings, in natural beauty spots and conservation areas.
FWA provides an immediate solution to poor broadband. However, Voneus now intends, with Macquarie Capital’s support, to connect its more established communities to full fibre broadband, enabling rural homes and businesses to receive up to 1 GBs of reliable, consistent, ultrafast connectivity.
Currently, many rural communities rely on slow fixed-line services due to the high investment costs of delivering fibre to homes in many parts of the countryside. Research by Rural England and Scotland’s Rural College has found that rural companies could add up to £26 billion a year to the economy if their digital capability was fulfilled.1
Steve Leighton, CEO of Voneus commented: “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.”
Macquarie has had a presence in the UK for 30 years, opening its London headquarters in 1989. Today, Macquarie is one of the largest investors in the UK, having invested and arranged more than £40 billion in infrastructure projects since 2005. Macquarie Capital specialises in infrastructure development with £18bn currently under construction or development globally. Macquarie Capital’s expertise in advancing and developing early stage infrastructure projects will be applied into the digital space through the investment and partnership with Voneus.
Oliver Bradley, Managing Director, who led the transaction for Macquarie Capital said: “The roll-out 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.”
Macquarie Group Corporate Communications
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About Macquarie Group
Macquarie Group Limited (Macquarie) is a diversified financial group providing clients with asset management and finance, banking, advisory and risk and capital solutions across debt, equity and commodities. Founded in 1969, Macquarie employs over 15,700 people globally. At 31 March 2019, Macquarie had assets under management of $A551.3 billion. For further information, visit www.macquarie.com.
About Macquarie Capital
Macquarie Capital is the advisory, capital markets and principal investment arm of Macquarie Group. Macquarie Capital provides strategic M&A and capital raising advice as well as partnering with clients by investing capital into their projects and companies. Globally Macquarie Capital focuses on six core sectors: infrastructure, utilities and renewables; real estate; telecommunications, media, entertainment and technology; resources; industrials; and financial institutions. Macquarie Capital is a global leader in developing and investing in early stage infrastructure around the world.
Voneus is the champion of rural community broadband and a leading provider of wireless superfast broadband services for homes and businesses located in poorly connected or difficult to reach communities. Founded in 2015 by a group of seasoned telecoms industry specialists, Voneus aims to become the UK’s number one provider of both superfast and ultrafast broadband services to rural communities, bringing parity between rural areas and the UK’s towns and cities.
For more information please visit www.voneus.com.