Conservative MEP welcomes EU support to bring some of Britain’s fastest broadband speeds to the South East

It has been announced that at least 40,000 properties across rural parts of the UK are set to receive some of the fastest broadband speeds in Britain.

The ultrafast broadband provider Gigaclear, will receive an investment of €25m (£18m), from the European Investment Bank (EIB), to help make the rollout of ultrafast broadband to rural communities possible.

At the end of 2015, Gigaclear had installed fibre to more than 15,000 properties across Kent, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Rutland, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Essex, with a further 10,000 already in construction.

Gigaclear provides ultrafast broadband, providing internet speeds 50 times faster than the average UK speed, and began a trial of Britain’s fastest internet package with up to 5Gbps broadband speeds last year.

Speaking after the announcement, Conservative MEP for South East England, Richard Ashworth commented:

“This is an overwhelmingly positive investment by the EIB into the economy of South East England.

“This is a good example of how the EU is able to support the UK government in its plans to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017.

“Improved connectivity is revolutionising all areas of our daily lives, we are becoming ever more reliant on the internet, whether for work or leisure, so it is vital that all corners of the UK receive a good connection”

Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President explained:

“Improving internet access in rural areas is crucial for economic activity, healthcare, education and access to key services. Over the last 5 years the European Investment Bank has provided nearly EUR 12 billion to improve broadband and telecommunications across Europe. We are pleased to support Gigaclear’s activities in our first targeted support for rural communications in the UK“.

Matthew Hare, chief executive of Gigaclear, explained:

“We have estimated that 1.5 million properties in the UK could benefit from our services and we want to reach those people as quickly as possible, but we’re a capital intensive business. So this loan is a landmark moment for us and an important next step in our expansion strategy.”

 

Notes to editors:

  • Gigaclear was founded in 2010, and  At the end of 2015 Gigaclear owned and operated 56 rural fibre networks and has 35 under construction across Kent, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Rutland, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Essex
  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment projects in order to contribute towards EU policy objectives.
  • “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” is a joint initiative launched by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) in cooperation with the European Commission under Horizon 2020. The loan to Gigaclear is the maximum available to companies under the ‘InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’ MidCap Growth Finance scheme and is the largest amount the EIB has awarded to any UK business under the InnovFin initiative.