The joint venture (JV) will be 50:50 owned by Liberty Global–Telefonica and InfraVia and see an initial investment of £4.5 billion to deploy fibre-to-the-home (FTTH)
Another national fibre network player is set to hit the UK market, with Liberty Global and Telefonica teaming up with InfraVia Capital Partners to create and operate a wholesale FTTH JV.
The JV will be owned 50% by Liberty and Telefonica via a holding company, with the remaining 50% held by French investment firm InfraVia.
The partners will invest roughly £4.5 billion in rolling out fibre, with the JV will initially target 5 million homes, none of which will overlap with Virgin Media O2 (VMO2)’s existing fibre footprint. A further 2 million homes could be added at a later stage.
Virgin Media O2 itself is currently working to upgrade its own national footprint of 16 million homes to FTTH, hence the two combined networks aim to cover 23 million premises with fibre.
“This JV will take our aggregate FTTH footprint to up to 23 million homes, reaching around 80% of the UK. VMO2 will bring significant build expertise, and will benefit from a meaningful off-net growth opportunity and as the anchor client will support attractive returns for the JV – a winning combination,” explained Mike Fries, CEO and Vice Chairman of Liberty Global. “Finally, we are very excited to be working with InfraVia who we already partner with in Germany, and welcome the expertise they bring to the JV.”
VMO2 will be the anchor client of the new network.
The deal is expected to close in Q4 this year, pending regulatory approval.
The creation of this new JV will be a headache for BT, which is today in the news as a result of nationwide strikes by the Communications Workers Union.
Much like VMO2, BT is currently in the process of increase its fibre rollout, targeting 25 million homes by the end of 2026.
How will this new JV shake up the UK’s connectivity industry? Find out from the experts at this year’s live Connected Britain conference