UK network builder and ISP Brsk today secured a huge funding boost of “until£178m to help fuel the ongoing rollout of their new open access, gigabit-enabled Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) broadband network, which has so far focused on parts of Greater Manchester, of Lancashire, West Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
Brsk started rolling out – in early 2021 – in the village of Cottingley, although they have since expanded to start upgrading the towns of Keighley and Bingley, as well as Clayton, Allerton & Sandy Lane, Heaton & Daisy Hill, Burnley, Padiham, Bradford, Queensbury, Thornton, Accrington and many more.
REMARK: Brsk was originally backed by a private equity firm Advencap.
The pace of construction has also accelerated in recent months. For example, in April 2022 the operator claimed to have covered 27,000 homes (10% early subscription rate), which in August 2022 had increased to 60,000 premises and today’s announcement reveals that they have added 10,000 additional homes and businesses (total of 70,000 successful).
In short, the operator currently has a strong monthly build rate of over 10,000 premises past, and they plan to double that rate again in the “short term“. As part of that effort, they have now been awarded a Investment of £103 million from funds managed by the infrastructure debt strategy of Ares Management Corporation (“Ares”). The new funding can be increased to £178 million over time to support future growth.
Giorgio Iovino, co-founder of Brsk, said:
“We are delighted to welcome Ares as a new financial partner. This funding comes at an important time as we continue to invest in accelerating our pace of construction to expand our network and reach our goal of 1 million homes delivered. People in the UK have suffered from poor broadband for far too long. We will continue to upgrade areas that rely on outdated copper connectivity and deliver full fiber broadband with an exceptional customer experience.
James Fox, managing director of infrastructure debt at Ares, said:
“We have been impressed with the experience of the Brsk management team and share their enthusiasm for improving digital connectivity across the UK. We are proud to partner with Giorgio, Ian and the team to deliver gigabit broadband to communities in all regions.
It continues to amaze us that so many alternative network (AltNet) start-ups in this industry have managed to make such strides in the market and attract such an impressive level of funding. Clearly, investors in Brsk have great confidence in the operator’s future potential, otherwise deals like this simply wouldn’t materialize.
Prices typically start from £25 per month for a 100Mbps unlimited symmetric speed plan (including free installation and router), rising to £45 for their top 900Mbps plan. Additionally, there is also a “guarantee” of “no price increaseduring this term. The pricing is extremely competitive and clearly designed to help customers move away from established networks and ISPs.
Brsk’s deal was advised by Greenhill & Co and supported by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as legal counsel. Ares was supported by Norton Rose Fulbright LLP as legal counsel.