Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has committed £295m (€320m) to help fund a £1bn roll-out of full-fibre broadband in London by operator G.Network.
The commitment is over six years and makes the UK pension fund a joint controlling shareholder in the business alongside existing investor Cube Infrastructure Managers.
G.Network, which has also secured £745m debt financing from four banks, will install state-of-the-art, ultra-fast broadband infrastructure in London for both residential and business customers.
The network is open access, meaning other providers can offer connections using the G.Network infrastructure in the future.
G.Network is working with eight London local authorities and will extend the roll-out to a further five, aiming to connect at least 80% of premises in each.
In the next five years, G.Network plans to dig around 4,500km of streets, reaching approximately 1.4m London premises, including many in under-served areas.
USS Investment Management CEO Simon Pilcher said: “This transaction is the latest in a series of new investments by USS in the UK, highlighting our commitment to long-term domestic investment, particularly where we can identify supportive regulatory and government policy.”
Sasho Veselinski, CEO of G.Network, said: “High-speed, reliable connectivity is critical to the home and work lives of Londoners. That’s why G Network is undertaking a fundamental upgrade of the capital’s telecoms infrastructure from copper to fibre.
“We are rebuilding London’s broadband from the fibre up, bringing first-class connectivity to residents and businesses without expecting them to pay more. We’re very pleased to be working with USS, Cube and our banking partners on this project, and look forward to many years of successful partnership.”
Cube managing partner Henri Piganeau said: “We are known as pioneers among infrastructure funds for investing early in fibre open-access networks, long before fibre became the ‘fourth utility’, and have over the last decade accompanied the growth of several European infrastructure operators.
“G.Network represents a compelling proposition for the enormous number of businesses and residents in London, who are chronically under-served by existing connectivity infrastructure.
“The partnership with USS will allow accelerating the growth of the company into becoming the open-access network for Central London, serving all telecom operators.”