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Spectrum secures £200 million for Welsh fibre broadband

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Cardiff-based ISP Spectrum has secured a £200 million investment to support it in delivering fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) to 150,000 sites across the south of Wales.

The funds were invested by Infracapital, the infrastructure investment arm of M&G Plc, billed as one of Europe’s leading infrastructure investors and the backer of Fibrus in Northern Ireland.

Andy Matthews, head of greenfield at Infracapital said: “We’re excited to announce this landmark investment in Spectrum and to play such an important role in delivering an increasingly essential service to the economy and wider society.”

Both homes and businesses will benefit from the initial build, which is expected to create 140 direct jobs locally, as well as additional jobs through contractors and the supply chain. Spectrum said the new jobs would be generated by the expansion of its headquarters and operations team in Wales.

The project is also expected to support much needed digitalisation for “underserved communities within the region”.

Spectrum’s founder, Giles Phelps, said: “Spectrum is well known in Wales as a broadband innovator. We already provide high-quality broadband to underserved communities and start-up businesses. As we grow, we are committed to working closely with the communities we serve and to provide customers with an even better service from our local team. With Infracapital’s support we aim to be Wales' biggest and best homegrown broadband service provider, and a key contributor to helping shape the future Welsh economy.”

Towns and villages in Monmouthshire, the Vale of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire are expected to be the first connected, with plans to reach other communities across south Wales “within three to five years”.

The project was boosted by a collaboration agreement between Net Support UK – part of the Spectrum group – and the Welsh government, allowing Net Support to use Welsh Government-owned assets to “improve the resilience” of the fibre network in the area.

Wales’ deputy minister for economy and transport, Lee Waters, explained: “It’s great to see this expansion in fibre broadband, which comes at no cost to the public purse. Earlier this year I announced an innovative project, which allows Net Support UK to access existing ducts and build new ones along the south Wales trunk roads.

“When I made the original announcement we would not have known how many of us would now be working from home where a reliable broadband connection is vital. This development is now even more timely and welcome.”