UK Infrastructure Bank investment to support thousands of rural homes to access ultrafast broadband in Northern Ireland

UK Infrastructure Bank investment to support thousands of rural homes to access ultrafast broadband in Northern Ireland

The UK Infrastructure Bank has today confirmed it will invest £50 million as a co-lender to the broadband provider Fibrus, which is delivering high-capacity broadband to rural homes and businesses across Northern Ireland.

The deal will benefit properties in rural areas and market towns that have historically had poorer access to digital services than urban areas. It will support ultrafast "full fibre" broadband connections to around 220,000 properties, enabling people to access high-speed broadband to work from home and run businesses online from across the country.

The investment from the UK Infrastructure Bank has facilitated £150 million of private sector capital from other commercial lenders.

Fibrus has already provided full fibre broadband to over 100,000 homes. By 2025 over a quarter of a million homes will have received improved digital access thanks to the project. Around 90% of these will be in digitally “hard-to-reach” areas which are currently underserved by the commercial market.

Full fibre offers the fastest and most reliable broadband available (up to 1,000 megabits per second) and is more energy-efficient and less carbon intensive. The lending supports the UK Government’s wider target for at least 85% of UK premises to have access to gigabit-capable broadband by 2025.

John Flint, CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank, said:

"I am very pleased that we can play a part in supporting homes and businesses across Northern Ireland to access fast and reliable broadband."

Colin Hutchinson, Chief Financial Officer of Fibrus, said:

"We are very well aware of the importance of high-speed broadband across Northern Ireland and with every connection we make, we are making lives better.

"This latest investment helps us to meet our long-term plan of connecting 330,000 premises and we are already well ahead of schedule. Together we are improving lives, connecting communities, and growing the economy."

Angela McGowan, Director of CBI Northern Ireland, said:

"Up to now too many companies and entrepreneurs in more remote areas of Northern Ireland have been left behind as the economy moved online.

"By ensuring that every premises has access to reliable, quality broadband in a short timeframe, we are giving Northern Ireland a competitive advantage which will be the envy of other regions.

"This investment by the UK Infrastructure Bank is a great vote of confidence in Fibrus and in the NI economy."

The UK Infrastructure Bank opened for business in June 2021 to tackle climate change and boost growth across the United Kingdom. The bank recently invested in digital infrastructure in England through Gigaclear, as well as subsidy-free solar power production in Wales and across the UK through its deal with NextEnergy. It has also supported the UK wind sector, through a loan to Tees Valley Combined Authority via its lending function. The bank is committed to invest in a wide range of sectors which meet its strategic objectives, and investment principles, which can be found on this site.

01 April 2022