Investment Announcement

Welsh company Spectrum secures landmark investment to deliver full fibre broadband to 150,000 premises across south Wales

  • At least 150,000 extra premises reached as part of the initial build
  • 140 jobs directly created
  • Supports Wales’ post-Covid recovery and transition to digital economy

CARDIFF, WALES – 14th Oct, 2020 – Spectrum, the Cardiff based broadband service provider, today announced a landmark investment from Infracapital, the infrastructure investment arm of M&G Plc and one of Europe’s leading infrastructure investors. The deal provides cornerstone funding and enables Spectrum to push forward with its ambitious plan to build full fibre broadband infrastructure across south Wales, transforming the digital landscape for underserved communities within the region.

The investment will allow Spectrum to bring fibre-to-the-premises services – which are faster, more reliable, and greener than traditional wired broadband networks – directly to at least 150,000 Welsh homes and businesses as part of the initial build. Towns and villages in Monmouthshire, the Vale of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire are expected to be the first to benefit, with plans to reach other communities across south Wales within three to five years.

Spectrum will expand its headquarters and operations staff in Wales to support the network buildout, plus its marketing, sales and customer support operations. The company will create more than 140 high quality jobs directly with many more roles supported through its contractors and supply chain across the region.

As remote and home working becomes a new normal for many enterprises and organisations in Wales, full fibre broadband has a critical role to play in supporting jobs, rebalancing access to opportunity, and building a more sustainable, resilient economy.

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.”

Investors Infracapital are at the forefront of supporting the European fibre sector, with significant existing experience in fibre roll-out across the UK and continental Europe, including through its most recent investment in 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. We look forward to supporting Spectrum in becoming one of the leading providers of full fibre broadband in Wales.”

The buildout will start in the coming months and take advantage of a pre-existing trunk road concession from Welsh Government.

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters said; “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 – part of the Spectrum group – to access existing ducts and build new ones along the south Wales trunk roads. This means Spectrum can make use of a Welsh Government-owned asset to improve the resilience of the fibre network in the area. 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.”

Covid-19 has accelerated demand for high-speed broadband and underlined the importance of high-quality connectivity to wider society. In Wales, many NHS consultations and social care services have moved online; school children have been educated digitally; and households are increasingly turning to the internet for basic services such as banking, to connect with family, as well as for gaming and video streaming.

Kellie Beirne, Director of the City Deal, Cardiff Capital Region also welcomed the announcement: “We’re pleased that a local company has secured this landmark investment. We’ll be working closely with Spectrum to align their strategy with our digital infrastructure ambitions. We want to ensure that every community benefits from fast, reliable and affordable broadband, which is essential for a strong economy and strong communities. This is great news for Wales and our region.”

Cameron Barney acted as financial advisor to Spectrum in the fundraising, with Cardiff’s Loosemores providing legal advice. The investment arrives at a very timely moment from a broader economic perspective and demonstrates that Welsh tech companies can play a major role in a clean, green economic recovery.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: 

About Spectrum (www.spectruminternet.com) 

  • Established by Chepstow-based tech entrepreneur Giles Phelps in 2011, Spectrum delivers high quality broadband and internet services in the south east Wales region. Mr Phelps will form part of a new Senior Management Team that has been established to grow the company following the investment. 

About Infracapital (www.infracapital.co.uk) 

  • Infracapital has a successful track record of building, delivering and operating essential greenfield infrastructure to meet the changing needs of society and support long-term economic growth, right across Europe. The company takes an active role in all of their investments, whether nascent or large, to fulfil their potential and ensure they are adaptable and resilient. The approach creates value for Infracapital’s investors, as they target investments with the scope for stable and sustainable growth. Infracapital’s portfolio companies work closely with the communities where they are based, to the benefit of all stakeholders. Infracapital is well positioned to deliver the significant investment required to help build the future. The founder-led team of experienced specialists has worked with more than 50 companies around Europe and has raised and managed over £6.5 billion of client capital across six funds. 
  • Infracapital is part of M&G Plc, a leading European savings and investments business. M&G manages the long-term savings of more than 5 million people and is a major investor in the UK and in the global economy. Total assets under management are £339 billion (as at 30 June 2020). 

About Spectrum’s advisors  

  • Cameron Barney (www.cameronbarney.com) has acted as financial adviser to Spectrum in this fundraising. Cameron Barney is a leading UK infratech merchant bank, providing advice and capital to companies in the telecoms, energy and technology sectors.  
  • Loosemores is a leading Cardiff law firm (www.loosemores.co.uk), with new offices in London.  

About full fibre broadband  

  • Full fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables to connect homes and businesses directly to the local internet exchange. Full fibre connectivity significantly improves upload and download speeds and service reliability; and has the capacity to support future increases in data requirements – making the networks future-proof and long-lasting. Full fibre broadband coverage in Wales is currently estimated at around 12%.  

Further Contributors  

  • Mark John and Louise Harris, Tramshed Tech, Cardiff – one of Spectrum’s current customers.  
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