Dutch pension fund APG has strengthened its investment relationship with US fibre optic network developer SiFi Networks America.

APG, acting on behalf of its Dutch pension fund clients, has bought a 16.7% stake in SiFi and created a joint venture to roll out open-access fibre-to-the-home networks in the US.

Last week, APG made a further €500m commitment to the Smart City Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) managed by Whitehelm Capital. APG’s initial €250m commitment to SCIF in 2018 had been focused on the US, where SCIF is working with its joint venture partner SiFi Networks to roll out fibre networks in medium-sized cities.

APG said the latest partnership with SiFi, including APG’s equity commitment to the newly created fibre joint venture, will contribute to bridging the digital divide in the US by offering fibre connections to underserved communities.

Patrick Kanters, managing director of global real assets at APG, said the partnership contributes to APG’s ambition to support digitalisation and the energy transition, as fibre is more energy-efficient than copper or cable.

”Importantly, this investment is expected to deliver an attractive and sustainable return for our pension fund clients and their participants. APG looks forward to our continued partnership with both SiFi and Whitehelm Capital.”

Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO at SiFi Networks, said:  “We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in APG, who has the financial resources and desire to create real social impact to enable our market-leading open-access networks to roll out across the USA. Cities, Consumers and ISPs can all benefit from our citywide fibre optic networks.”

Matteo Andreoletti, the head of infrastructure Europe and North America for Whitehelm Capital, said APG’s investment will help accelerate the deployment of full-fibre networks future-proofed with smart city connectivity across the US.

”All over the world, cities are rapidly turning into smart cities. SiFi’s citywide, open-access business model plays a vital role to develop and reinforce the next generation of urban infrastructure for the benefit of the people, the economy and the environment.”

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