Gresham House plc, through its British Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (BSIF), today announced that it has invested an additional £164m ($223m) of funding into Borderlink Broadband Limited, a fixed wireless access (FWA) and fiber broadband operator in Southern Scotland and Northern England, to expand its UK fiber broadband roll-out. Through this follow-on investment, Gresham House grows its total commitment for Borderlink to £174.5m ($237m), following its initial £10.5m ($14m) investment in April 2021.
Notably, Gresham House has made this investment in Borderlink across both its £300m BSIF I and £100m (first close) BSIF II vehicles. Collectively, Gresham-controlled entities hold more than 50%, but less than 75%, of the shares and voting rights in Borderlink.
Borderlink – Gresham House Backs Fiber Growth
Founded in 2017, Borderlink operates as a rural broadband provider offering high-speed connectivity under the consumer-facing brand GoFibre. Presently, the company serves homes and businesses in underserved communities across Scotland, as well as counties of North West and North East England – namely Cumbria and Northumberland. For example, Borderlink has rolled-out fiber in the Scottish council areas of Scottish Borders, Lothian, and Angus.
Overall, Borderlink’s fiber broadband connectivity is capable of supporting speeds of 1+ gigabit per second.
Gresham House’s incremental £164m investment in Borderlink, in conjunction with various government schemes, will enable the company to accelerate its delivery of both rural and urban fiber. Specifically, Borderlink targets passing up to 500k homes with fiber broadband connectivity over the next 3 years.
Assuming Borderlink’s 500k fiber passings are entirely incremental, this plan would imply a pacing of 167k fiber passings per year.
To facilitate its expansion, in 2022, Borderlink will open a new office in Edinburgh, Scotland and recruit an additional 100 employees. In turn, these initiatives will allow the company to improve the pace and scale of its fiber connectivity operation.
Borderlink, via GoFibre, offers customers fiber broadband packages at speeds of 120 megabits per second (Mbps), 300 Mbps, 500 Mbps, 1,000 Mbps, and 2,000 Mbps. In contrast, Borderlink’s fixed wireless access (FWA) offering delivers download speeds ranging from 20 Mbps to 120 Mbps.
Borderlink is led by Alex (Alessandro) Cacciamani as founder and Chief Executive Officer. Additionally, Chris Jagusz is replacing John Seed as Chairman of Borderlink.
Gresham House – British Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (BSIF)
Gresham House’s British Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (BSIF) comprises two closed-end funds with 12-year horizons to invest in sustainable infrastructure projects. Through the BSIF vehicles, Gresham House targets an 8% to 10% net IRR annually, including a minimum income yield of 5% to 6% per annum.
Beyond Borderlink, Gresham House via BSIF has made a £50m commitment to Wildanet, an alternative broadband network provider to rural homes and businesses of Cornwall, England. Additionally, Gresham House’s BSIF has made a £63m investment into Manchester-based internet service provider (ISP) Telcom Group.