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Abu Dhabi drops sack of cash into UK broadband challenger Hyperoptic

How much? They won't say – but they now have a board seat

The Abu Dhabi government has taken a minority stake in alternative Brit broadband bods Hyperoptic through its state-run investment firm.

With the company publicly promising to splurge £500m over the next three years on bringing full-fibre broadband to the masses, the Abu Dhabi investment will doubtless help it meet its own deployment targets.

Previously, Hyperoptic had said it would poke its glass rods into two million British households by 2022; it now hopes to do that by 2021, similarly bringing forward a second deadline for 5 million homes to 2024 from 2025.

The firm declined to tell the Financial Times how much the investment was worth.

The Mubadala Investment Company, the formal title of the Abu Dhabi government's investment arm, will secure a Hyperoptic board seat as a result of its cash-splashing.

Mounir Barakat, exec director of Mubadala ICT, said: "We have been following Hyperoptic for the last couple of years and have been impressed by the impact they have had on the UK fibre market, taking a strong leadership, catalyst and disruptor role."

Hyperoptic chairman Boris Ivanovic chipped in to say: "Backing by such a significant sovereign wealth fund, not only provides the firepower to deliver on our plan and vision, but is a further proof of the road we have taken in fundamentally transforming a very slow and reactive UK telco market."

Earlier this year Cityfibre, one of Hyperoptic's private sector rivals, said it would splurge £2.5bn on a similar full-fibre broadband product, having been bought out by a Goldman Sachs-managed investment fund.

Not to be left out, BT Openreach dropped its prices for property developers a couple of weeks ago, in the hope of forestalling Hyperoptic's cherry-picking strategy of targeting blocks of flats. ®


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