Rural broadband operator secures funding for up to 900,000 homes

Rural broadband operator secures funding for up to 900,000 homes

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A broadband operator that specialises in bringing high-speed connectivity to rural parts of the UK that are not yet covered by fibre capabilities has secured new investments that will help it roll out superfast services to almost a million remote homes and businesses.

Voneus is set to receive an injection of up to £30 million from venture capitalist firm Macquarie Capital that will allow it to bring gigabit-capable speeds to up to 900,000 premises.

Currently, Voneus uses Fixed Wireless Access technology to provide superfast broadband with speeds between 30Mbps and 50Mbps to rural homes and businesses. Since being formed in 2015, the firm has installed superfast broadband in around 4,000 homes and businesses in 25 rural communities, with its network covering Lancashire and Yorkshire, as well as the Cotswolds and Devon.

However, in addition to speeding up the rollout of these fixed wireless services in remote areas, the new investment will allow the business to connect its more established communities to the latest full fibre technology, delivering consistent speeds of up to 1Gbps to remote parts of the UK.

This should bring significant benefits to many rural communities that currently rely on slow fixed-line services, due to the high investment costs of delivering fibre to homes in many parts of the countryside. 

Indeed, Macquarie Capital highlighted research by Rural England and Scotland’s Rural College that found rural companies could add up to £26 billion a year to the economy if their digital capability was fulfilled with the help of high-speed connectivity.

Chief executive of Voneus Steve Leighton said the new backing is a "huge endorsement" of the company's vision, but also reflects how much work is still to be done to connect the many homes and businesses in rural parts of the UK that still do not have access to a decent broadband connection.

He added: "Not only will it help us speed up the rollout of fixed wireless services in hard-to-reach communities, it means that - longer term - we will be able to add full fibre broadband to our portfolio; this will be a complete game-changer for these hitherto neglected areas." 

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