New investor Railpen stumps up £35 million in latest funding round.

U.K. rural fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) provider Gigaclear on Friday announced it has raised £111 million via an equity funding round.

The new money will help fund network tenders Gigaclear won through the government’s BDUK scheme. The networks will cover parts of Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire.

A new shareholder in RPMI Railpen – a pension fund for railway workers – has ploughed £35 million into the company, while existing shareholders Infracapital and Woodford have pledged to invest a further £60 million and £15 million respectively. Other shareholders have contributed a further £1 million.

"We see the partnership with Gigaclear as a natural fit that will allow us to generate strong returns over time and fulfil our mission to pay members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably," said Paul Bishop, investment director at Railpen.

Infracapital and Woodford led an investment round last April that raised £24 million for Gigaclear.

"Gigaclear has made significant progress since we made our original investment and we are proud to be supporting the team as they roll out this essential infrastructure in underserved areas of the country," said Ed Clarke, co-founder and director of Infracapital.

Gigaclear CEO Matthew Hare said the funding round "is a clear signal of the confidence investors have in our continued expansion and success.

"Our pure fibre network transforms lives by providing access to the fastest Internet speeds to be found anywhere in the world and technologically future-proofing these rural communities for years to come," he said.

As well as two equity investment rounds in the last 13 months, Gigaclear last January also secured a €25 million loan (£21.19 million) from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help fund its network deployment.

Hare is one of many senior industry figures speaking at Total Telecom’s Connected Britain, which takes in London on 14-15 June. Click here to find out more.