HeraldScotland:

Rural broadband provider Broadway Partners has secured £145 million from Downing LLP to support its plan to deliver full fibre broadband to rural communities across Scotland and Wales.

The funding will support Broadway’s aspirations to connect 250,000 homes and businesses by 2025 and to become the natural alternative provider of digital infrastructure wherever it operates.

Michael Armitage, chief executive of Broadway Partners said: “The investment from Downing LLP will enable Broadway Partners to accelerate its rural broadband programme, offering vital connectivity to businesses and households in parts of the country that other providers can’t reach.

"We are fortunate to have had Souter Investments as our provider of funding and wise counsel since 2018, and their expertise and guidance have been invaluable as we have grown from ambitious start-up to even more ambitious challenger. We are looking forward to the next phase of our mission with Downing with confidence and optimism.” 

Broadway Partners launched in 2016 to deliver affordable, high-speed broadband services to the more remote regions of the UK, particularly Scotland and Wales "where there is a notable digital divide in countryside locations". Broadway has connected thousands of premises in communities across Arran, Inverness-shire, Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, Perth & Kinross, Monmouthshire and Pembrokeshire, with the next networks soon to be rolled out across Powys, Ceredigion, and Carmarthenshire, and again in Scotland thereafter.

Barry Weaver, chief operating officer of Broadway Partners said: “The pandemic highlighted the critical importance of high-quality digital infrastructure, for the economy, for the delivery of public services, and for the well-being of individuals and communities. With Downing’s financial support and commitment to scale, we can look forward to delivering on the promise of a fully connected fibre future. ”

Sean Moore at Downing LLP said:  “We’re delighted to be working with Broadway Partners to accelerate its plans to bring full fibre into Wales and Scotland. We believe that digital infrastructure, particularly in rural communities, is a key enabler of economic growth and social well-being within the communities that it serves. Specifically, gigabit-capable fibre provides a future-proof solution, ensuring that the targeted towns and villages are not left behind. We look forward to supporting the team with their growth ambitions over the coming years.”

Calum Cusiter at Souter Investments said: “We are delighted to have been part of Broadway’s journey over the last 3.5 years and have seen the business grow and develop considerably in that time.  Our goal is always to leave our businesses in a better position than when we first invest and that is certainly true in this case due to the huge effort and expertise that the team have applied over the last few years.  However, we are also sure that the investment and backing from Downing will facilitate the next and exciting stage of growth for Broadway.

“It is great to have worked with Downing on this transaction and we wish them, plus everyone at Broadway, every success in the future.”

 Marcus Allchurch, managing partner at Acuity Advisors said: “We have extensive experience working with independent fibre network businesses, and I am delighted to have secured this funding package for Broadway to accelerate its rollout. The team have a clear focus on delivering next generation full-fibre connectivity to rural communities in Wales and Scotland. I believe that Downing have backed a fantastic team and platform, and look forward to watching the business thrive in partnership with its excellent new backer.”

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