Home Business Altnet funding crisis deepens as Airband seeks new funds

Altnet funding crisis deepens as Airband seeks new funds

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Airband Community Internet, which had set a target of connecting 600,000 premises to full-fibre broadband by 2025, has enlisted advisers to seek new funding, Sky News learns.
City editor
Tuesday 20 June 2023 12:22, UK
Another of Britain’s army of ‘altnet’ broadband infrastructure providers is to seek additional funding amid a tightening financial squeeze on the industry.
Sky News understands that AlixPartners and Houlihan Lokey, the restructuring firms, have been enlisted to work on a potential recapitalisation of Airband Community Internet, which serves counties including Devon, Shropshire and Oxfordshire.
City sources said Airband had been working on financing options for several weeks and was likely to require a substantial injection of new capital.
The company is backed by Abrdn, the fund management group, and Amber Infrastructure Group.
In November 2021 it announced that it had secured a £100m debt facility, saying it would help accelerate Airband’s rollout to 600,000 premises by 2025.
Airband could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
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Its search for new funding comes amid broader strains on the altnet sector.
Altnet strains show in collapse of rural fibre player Broadway Partners
One million in UK switch off broadband due to cost of living crisis, charity warns
Zzoomm dials up merger with fibre broadband peer Trooli
Sky News revealed last month that Broadway Partners, a rural network builder in Scotland and Wales, had been forced to call in administrators.
Broadway had set an ambitious target of connecting 250,000 homes and businesses by 2025, and insolvency practitioners at Teneo are now running a process to sell its business or assets.
Other fibre network builders which have sought new investment or buyers in recent months include Trooli, another mid-sized entrant.
The market is dominated by BT’s Openreach division, but also includes large competitors such as CityFibre Holdings.
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