New £50 million investment set to turbocharge Wildanet’s Full Fibre gigabit broadband rollout

Wildanet, the fast-growing Cornwall-based internet provider, is to accelerate and extend the rollout of its Full Fibre gigabit broadband network in Cornwall and Devon with the announcement of an additional £50 million of private equity funding from sustainable infrastructure investment specialists Gresham House.

The deal represents a huge vote of confidence in Wildanet’s mission to bring high-speed internet to rural communities in the South West and follows an initial investment of £50 million in the business by Gresham House in 2020, which kick-started the rollout.

Wildanet, founded in 2017 to bring high-speed internet to rural and hard-to-reach areas in the South West, is rapidly growing its fibre broadband network in the region, transforming connectivity for communities where it operates and creating more than 180 direct jobs to date, with plans to recruit up to a further 200.

In addition to its significant rollout in Cornwall, Liskeard-based Wildanet is now working in more than 15 areas across Devon after announcing a full scale move into the county in June 2023, including the opening of a new office and logistics centre in Bideford.

Helen Wylde, Wildanet Chief Executive Officer, said: “This latest investment will allow Wildanet to bring forward the timing of its current rollout plans and target new areas across both counties, including some of the most challenging, remote locations bypassed in previous rollouts by major telecoms operators.”

Wildanet expects to add more than 50,000 rural ready for service premises by the end of 2023 to add to the 60,000 wireless connections already available across Cornwall and Devon.

Helen Wylde added: “For Wildanet to secure such significant private equity funding, in today’s challenging economic and investment environment, stands out as a demonstration of real confidence in our values, our strategy and our delivery to date.

“Gresham House are a fantastic partner to Wildanet and fully share our vision for sustainable infrastructure development in the South West. We are grateful for their continued support and for the significant difference this investment will make to our own rollout plans and to lives and opportunities in communities where we are bringing modern, high-speed digital connectivity residents and businesses need and deserve.”

Simon Adcock, Head of Portfolio & Co-Fund Manager, Sustainable Infrastructure at Gresham House said: “Over the past two years, Wildanet has had a transformative impact on communities across Cornwall, creating a truly gigabit-capable network that is both vastly superior to and materially more energy efficient than copper-based broadband. This is critical infrastructure that will enable the South West to benefit from the digital transformation, equating to an economic value of £70mn per year for Cornwall alone out to 2030.  We are delighted to be supporting the Wildanet team on these projects.”

Stevie Ingamells, Associate Director, Sustainable Infrastructure at Gresham House added: “This is exactly the kind of sustainable infrastructure project we were looking to create through our BSIF funds, generating attractive returns for our investors while providing critical economic, social, and health and wellbeing benefits for a region that has traditionally been overlooked.”

The deal represents a huge vote of confidence in Wildanet’s mission to bring high-speed internet to rural communities in the South West and follows an initial investment of £50 million in the business by Gresham House in 2020, which kick-started the rollout.

Wildanet has a clear mission to bring fast, reliable internet to homes and businesses in communities throughout Devon and Cornwall, with a vision of tackling digital inequality, removing the digital divide where it exists and working tirelessly to deliver digital connectivity to all.

It has put the company at the forefront of tackling issues of digital inclusion and internet affordability in the region, through a range of initiatives including:

  • Wildanet’s work to set up digital hubs in towns and villages where it is rolling out fibre.
  • Wide ranging partnerships with communities, local authorities, parish councils, business groups, colleges and charities across Devon and Cornwall.
  • Developing a new Wildanet Skills Academy and apprenticeship scheme.
  • Signing the Armed Forces Covenant, with almost a fifth of its workforce veterans and ex-service personnel.
  • Developing a highly skilled locally based customer service team.
  • Offering a variety of tariffs, so customers are only paying for the connectivity they need.
  • Wildanet’s pledge of no mid-contract price increases.
  • The launch of Wildanet’s own Social Tariff, designed to support customers through the cost-of-living crisis and ensure everyone has access to essential internet services.

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