August 7, 2022

£100m injection for network provider founded by TalkTalk founder Neil McArthur

New alternative network provider Freedom Fiber is accelerating its fiber rollout in the North West with a £100m cash injection.

The Greater Manchester-based company set up by Neil McArthur, the founder of telecommunications giant TalkTalk, has secured an £84m investment from infrastructure investor Equitix alongside Santander’s debt facility.

This is the first stage of its deployment in more than 2 million premises in the North West.

Irlam-headquartered Freedom Fibre, founded just over a year ago, is a next-generation Full Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) network provider with a “B2B2C” business model.

The company was founded by telecommunications networking entrepreneur Neil McArthur, who pioneered broadband and fiber networks in the UK, including rolling out TalkTalk’s national footprint.

Equitix, a leading global long-term investor, developer and fund manager of core infrastructure assets, has made an initial funding commitment of £84m in Freedom Fibre.

The money will accelerate Freedom Fibre’s deployment of FTTP, which is done primarily by installing fiber over BT’s existing infrastructure.

Freedom Fiber already delivers super-fast broadband to nearly 20,000 homes in parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester “with minimal disruption to residents” 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 plans to increase customer penetration through its wholesale agreement with TalkTalk to use its fiber optic connections.

Freedom Fiber will look to add other broadband service providers over time as it evolves.

Neil McArthur, CEO, said, “Freedom Fiber strongly believes that Full Fiber should be a right, available to everyone, not a privilege.

“This new funding allows us to support our long-term ambition to take fiber out of the box to semi-urban areas, providing fast and reliable connectivity with the best possible customer experience.

“We are excited to advance our strategy to create an affordable fiber optic network that will last for generations.”

Hugh Crossley, Managing Director of Equitix, said, “We look forward to investing and growing Freedom Fiber’s network deployment.

“We believe Freedom Fiber is a strong company, operating in a critical infrastructure sector that plays a critical role in providing connectivity to both people and the economy of the North West.

“This significant investment further enhances Equitix’s network infrastructure which delivers essential public services to over 6.3 million customers in the UK and Europe. Freedom Fiber’s network deployment will further our strategic goals of providing local communities with affordable, high-quality critical infrastructure.

Freedom Fiber was advised by Oakley Advisory and Addleshaw Goddard, as well as PWC Debt Advisory. Equitix was advised by Cameron Barney and by Shoosmiths.

The Manchester-based Addleshaw Goddard team was led by partner Roger Hart and included Rabia Burton, Josh Nock, Nick Parkin, Martin O’Shea, Alex Redford and Dulcie Jones.