Smallish telco Gigaclear gets €25m loan for rural broadband roll-out

Biz plans to bring fibre to just 40,000 new homes

British telco minnow Gigaclear has topped up its coffers with a €25m (£19m) loan from the European Investment Bank, a move it reckons will help treble its rural broadband network in the UK this year.

During 2016 the biz plans to "rapidly" extend its pure fibre, ultrafast broadband infrastructure. However, that amounts to just 40,000 homes out of a total 1.5 million identified by the provider.

Chief executive Matthew Hare has said the company wants to raise a total of £90m.

Its total funding to date is £69m, said Philip Carse, an analyst at Megabuyte. But Carse added that the roll-out still amounted to a drop in the ocean when it comes to increasing connectivity.

"A number of smaller companies such as City Fibre, Hyperoptic and Kcomm have also identified areas that BT has no plans to go into," he said.

Other methods for connecting areas not deemed viable for investment by the likes of BT include satellite and the extension of mobile coverage.

However, The Register revealed last year that the government's Mobile Infrastructure Project to build nearly 600 masts in rural areas has been a total flop - with it having only erected a meagre eight masts in more than two years.

Gigaclear's Hare said the company is a "capital-intensive business", adding "this loan is a landmark moment for us and an important next step in our expansion strategy.”

Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank vice president, said that over the last five years the bank has provided nearly €12bn (£9bn) to improve broadband and telecommunications across Europe. ®

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