UK pension funds are among investors providing £111m (€131m) to help build broadband infrastructure in the country.

The Railways Pension Scheme, Infracapital and Woodford Investment Management have provided funding to broadband provider Gigaclear.

Railpen, which manages the £25bn Railways Pension Scheme in the UK, has made a £35m investment and taken £10m of existing shares.

Its investment was carried out by the pension fund manager’s private markets team, which focuses on illiquid investments.

Infracapital, the infrastructure arm of M&G Investments, has provided £60m and remains the largest shareholder in Gigaclear. Woodford Investment Management has committed £15m.

Infracapital carried out in the investment on behalf of a number of institutional investors, including a UK local authority pension scheme.

Paul Bishop, investment director at Railpen, said: “As a long-term investor, we see the partnership with Gigaclear as a natural fit that will allow us to generate strong returns over time and help fulfil our mission to pay members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably.” 

Mirza Delibegovic, investment manager at Railpen said: “We are pleased to have been able to invest in a great company in a sector we like, focused on serving homes and businesses in rural communities which suffer from poor broadband connectivity and which have to date been under-served by incumbent ISPs.”

Gigaclear has won tenders to deliver its broadband network to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire through the government-backed Broadband Delivery UK programme.

Ed Clarke, co-founder and director of Infracapital, says: “Greenfield infrastructure projects such as this offer institutional and pension fund investors early access to assets that over the longer-term can generate predictable cashflows increasing in line with inflation.”