Spectrum, the Cardiff based broadband service provider, today announced a landmark investment from Infracapital, the infrastructure investment arm of M&G Plc and one of Europe’s leading infrastructure investors.
The deal provides cornerstone funding and enables Spectrum to push forward with its ambitious plan to build full fibre broadband infrastructure across south Wales, transforming the digital landscape for underserved communities within the region.
The investment will allow Spectrum to bring fibre-to-the-premises services – which are faster, more reliable, and greener than traditional wired broadband networks – directly to at least 150,000 Welsh homes and businesses as part of the initial build. Towns and villages in Monmouthshire, the Vale of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire are expected to be the first to benefit, with plans to reach other communities across south Wales within three to five years.
Spectrum will expand its headquarters and operations staff in Wales to support the network buildout, plus its marketing, sales and customer support operations. The company will create more than 140 high quality jobs directly with many more roles supported through its contractors and supply chain across the region.
As remote and home working becomes a new normal for many enterprises and organisations in Wales, full fibre broadband has a critical role to play in supporting jobs, rebalancing access to opportunity, and building a more sustainable, resilient economy.
Spectrum’s founder, Giles Phelps, said:
“Spectrum is well known in Wales as a broadband innovator. We already provide high-quality broadband to underserved communities and start-up businesses. As we grow, we are committed to working closely with the communities we serve and to provide customers with an even better service from our local team. With Infracapital’s support we aim to be Wales' biggest and best homegrown broadband service provider, and a key contributor to helping shape the future Welsh economy.”
Investors Infracapital are at the forefront of supporting the European fibre sector, with significant existing experience in fibre roll-out across the UK and continental Europe, including through its most recent investment in Fibrus in Northern Ireland.
Andy Matthews, Head of Greenfield at Infracapital said:
“We’re excited to announce this landmark investment in Spectrum and to play such an important role in delivering an increasingly essential service to the economy and wider society. We look forward to supporting Spectrum in becoming one of the leading providers of full fibre broadband in Wales.”
The buildout will start in the coming months and take advantage of a pre-existing trunk road concession from Welsh Government.
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters said;
“It’s great to see this expansion in fibre broadband, which comes at no cost to the public purse. Earlier this year I announced an innovative project, which allows Net Support UK – part of the Spectrum group – to access existing ducts and build new ones along the south Wales trunk roads. This means Spectrum can make use of a Welsh Government-owned asset to improve the resilience of the fibre network in the area. When I made the original announcement we would not have known how many of us would now be working from home where a reliable broadband connection is vital. This development is now even more timely and welcome.”
Covid-19 has accelerated demand for high-speed broadband and underlined the importance of high-quality connectivity to wider society. In Wales, many NHS consultations and social care services have moved online; school children have been educated digitally; and households are increasingly turning to the internet for basic services such as banking, to connect with family, as well as for gaming and video streaming.
Kellie Beirne, Director of the City Deal, Cardiff Capital Region welcomed the announcement:
“We’re pleased that a local company has secured this landmark investment. We’ll be working closely with Spectrum to align their strategy with our digital infrastructure ambitions. We want to ensure that every community benefits from fast, reliable and affordable broadband, which is essential for a strong economy and strong communities. This is great news for Wales and our region.”
Cameron Barney acted as financial advisor to Spectrum in the fundraising, with Cardiff’s Loosemores providing legal advice. The investment arrives at a very timely moment from a broader economic perspective and demonstrates that Welsh tech companies can play a major role in a clean, green economic recovery.