U.K.-based network operator to triple 100 GE footprint, hire ‘several hundred’ more staff.

Colt on Thursday announced a €500 million, three-year investment plan that will expand the capacity and reach of its networks, enabling it to meet the growing demand of its customers.

€200 million will be ploughed into the business in 2017 alone, Colt said.

The company plans to spend a big chunk of change on its ‘Colt IQ’ network, which is currently available in 28 countries, connecting more than 200 cities, 700 data centres, and 24,500 buildings. Colt said it plans to triple the number of sites in the IQ network that are capable of providing 100 G Ethernet and IP connectivity services, and optical services of up to 9.6 Tbps per site. The current tally stands at 73 sites.

As previously announced, Colt said it also plans to expand its metro network coverage in Asia, starting with Singapore and Hong Kong.

"The cash injection has been driven by the exploding bandwidth demands of global enterprises, particularly in digital, data-intensive industries," Colt said.

"Networking is exciting again," said William Fellows, founder and research vice president at 451 Group. "Old business models are breaking down and technology is taking a major leap forward, driven by software and virtualisation. Colt is investing in its core asset, its network – bringing in what’s effectively a shiny new car – to stay ahead in this race."

Alongside the network expansion, Colt has also embarked on a hiring spree, which started last September with the appointment of former BT Global Services exec Tom Regent as chief commercial officer.

Colt said it plans to employ "several hundred" new staff in order to win new business and support existing customers.

The strategic update comes as Colt embarks on its 25th year as a company.

"Almost 25 years ago, we emerged as a disruptive challenger in the market, and our mission for 2017 is to increase this challenger status as a digital enabler with global reach and local presence and agility," said Colt CEO Carl Grivner.