Tiger Infrastructure Partners (Tiger Infrastructure) has announced a control investment of £75 million in Rural Broadband Solutions Holdings Limited (RBBS), a fast-growing provider of broadband services to residential and business customers in rural areas of the UK.
Delivered via its Shropshire based internet service provider brand SWS Broadband, RBBS initially provided broadband through fixed wireless access technology in the county. Since the establishment of the UK government's Project Gigabit scheme, which subsidises broadband roll-out in rural areas, it has now started to deploy full fibre.
Christopher New, CEO of RBBS, said: "We were seeking a financial partner who shared our vision to deploy full fibre to our communities. We believe Tiger Infrastructure is a like-minded investor whose expertise and capital will assist us in making RBBS a leader in our niche. With Tiger Infrastructure's investment, RBBS is well-positioned to help communities in Shropshire and Wales solve the immediate and growing requirement for reliable, gigabit-capable connectivity."
Emil W. Henry, Jr., CEO of Tiger Infrastructure, added: "RBBS, with its track record of operating a high-quality fixed wireless access network and deploying full fibre in challenging areas, represents an ideal partner for Tiger Infrastructure to enter a sector experiencing strong tailwinds. We have the opportunity to invest alongside the UK government to meet the needs of rural households and small businesses that, despite strong growth in data consumption, remain served by significantly slower and less reliable copper lines or fibre-to-the-cabinet. Having followed the UK fibre sector for many years, we were impressed by the quality and investment discipline of RBBS' management team and look forward to partnering with them to deliver best-in-class infrastructure and service to rural communities."
RBBS' vision is to create a high-quality, contiguous network initially covering approximately 100,000 remote premises in small towns in Shropshire and Wales where full fibre connectivity is currently unavailable. RBBS' target deployment areas are some of the least densely populated in the UK and sit entirely in Ofcom's Area 3, which includes rural locations where the first provider to connect each premise is eligible for subsidies. Many of these areas represent an attractive investment opportunity that has been left out of the deployment plans of full fibre operators focused on larger urban areas.
Full fibre broadband is recognised by the UK government as critical to ‘level up’ the country, particularly due to the growth in data consumption and the rise of remote working following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Picture: Christopher New, RBBS/SWS Broadband.