University lecturers’ pension scheme USS plots broadband bid | Business News


Britain’s biggest private pension scheme is plotting a bid for a big stake in an ultrafast broadband provider, amid a government-inspired rush to invest in new high-speed communications networks.

Sky News has learnt that the £75bn Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which safeguards the retirement savings of many thousands of university lecturers, is among a number of parties considering buying shares in G.Network.

USS’s bid is at a relatively early stage, but would fit within a portfolio of infrastructure investments it has made as it hunts assets to deploy capital into for long periods of time.

G.Network to looking to secure funding in order to accelerate its expansion

Sources said the universities pension scheme was not in exclusive talks and was one of a number of interested parties.

G.Network, which is privately owned, is working with Rothschild to secure hundreds of millions of pounds of new funding in order to accelerate its expansion.

The company serves affluent parts of Central London, and wants to grow more quickly amid efforts to deliver high-speed internet services across the UK during the next few years.

Sky News reported in March that G.Network was looking to raise approximately £200m by selling new shares, with hundreds of millions of pounds more to be raised from private debt markets.

The scale of the potential fundraising underlines the land grab taking place among full-fibre broadband providers as they seek to establish their services in an increasingly competitive market.

USS’s interest in G.Network has emerged the day after CityFibre Holdings announced that it would create 11,000 jobs as it seeks to expand its full-fibre network to eight million UK homes.

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BT Group said recently that it would invest around £12bn to upgrade 20 million lines by the end of the decade.

G.Network, which has sprung up alongside the likes of Hyperoptic and Gigaclear among a second tier of players in the market, is part-owned by Cube Infrastructure Managers.

Its most recent publicly disclosed financing, in 2018, saw it raise £60m to fund its rollout.

At the time, it said the capital would provide Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connectivity to more than 120,000 premises across London.

G.Network has become a favoured supplier to hedge funds and other financial sector businesses in districts such as Mayfair which rely on ultra-fast communications services for trading and other activities.

USS declined to comment on Friday.


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