September 30, 2022

Fiber network provider founded by ex-TalkTalk boss gets £100m raise

A fiber network provider founded by a former TalkTalk boss has secured £100million in funding.

Greater Manchester-based Freedom Fiber was backed by Equitix, which owns 40% of Electricity North West, as well as a credit facility of Santander.

The company was founded in November 2020 by Chief Executive Neil McArthur, who was Group Chief Innovation Officer at TalkTalk until December 2018.

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Equitix has made an initial funding commitment of £84 million to the business, providing it with cash to accelerate Freedom Fibre’s rollout of FTTP, which is primarily through the installation of fiber into the company’s existing infrastructure. BT.

Freedom Fiber already provides super-fast broadband to nearly 20,000 homes in parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

It said it is on track to reach 70,000 premises by the end of this year and plans to increase customer penetration through its wholesale deal with TalkTalk to use its fiber optic connections.

Le added that his ultimate business plan is to reach over two million premises in his chosen locations.

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 vital 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 utility services to over 6.3 million customers in the UK and Europe.

“The deployment of Freedom Fiber’s network will further our strategic goals of providing local communities with affordable, high-quality critical infrastructure.”

Darren Woods, CFO of Freedom Fibre, added, “We are delighted to have secured this investment from Equitix which will help to significantly accelerate Freedom Fibre’s rapid operational progress.

Santander Bank has also signed a £16m credit facility with Freedom Fibre.

Mr. McArthur 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 off the beaten path 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.”

Freedom Fiber was advised by Oakley Advisory Limited and Addleshaw Goddard LLP, as well as PWC Debt Advisory.

Equitix was advised by Cameron Barney and by Shoosmiths LLP.