Airband, the broadband provider for rural homes and businesses across the West of England, has successfully closed a significant £100 million (€118.3m) debt package from an international banking consortium including HSBC, Lloyds, Nord LB and Sabadell. The debt facility enables Airband to accelerate its rollout plan with the view to service 600,000 premises with full fibre broadband by 2025.
The rollout of Airband’s full fibre broadband services will cover over 10,000km of fibre in a bid to close the digital divide seen across the UK between urban and rural communities. Ofcom recently reported that people are living increasingly virtual lives, with data usage in the UK increasing c.10x from 2013 to 2019.
Airband’s founder, Redmond Peel commented: “We created Airband in 2009 to supply rural areas with the high-quality internet they deserve. The pandemic has increasingly highlighted the deficit some communities in the UK face when it comes to services that those living in urban areas take for granted. Access to reliable and fast broadband that is fit for modern day lives – from home education and online grocery shopping during the lockdown through to the digitisation of many services, such as banking and streaming entertainment – can no longer be considered a luxury, but rather a basic utility.”
Airband has been a long-standing partner of both national and local government organisations and has grown rapidly to become the largest infrastructure provider in the rural areas it serves, with the platform currently being able to support 100,000 premises. Increasing demand, changes in regulation and the availability of the Government subsidies have created a unique opportunity for Airband to roll out ultrafast internet, using future-proof gigabit capable fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology. It does this by identifying poorly served areas and working with communities, local councils and the Government to install the necessary infrastructure to deliver full fibre connections.
Redmond added: “As well as bringing full-fibre to communities, we ensure it is available to those in the area at an affordable rate. We invest in the communities we serve, from ongoing maintenance of the network through to supporting the local economy by setting up offices in key districts and generating jobs in the local area.”