Aviva invests £100m in Truespeed for full-fibre broadband rollout

Truespeed Aviva funding Image credit: Truespeed

Bath-based broadband provider Truespeed has received a £100m capital injection from Aviva Investors to fund the rollout of its “gigabit-capable” full-fibre network to homes and businesses across the southwest of England.

It brings the total investment made by Aviva Investors – the asset management division of insurance firm Aviva – to £175m following its £75m backing in 2017.

Founded in 2014, Truespeed is an internet service provider and also installs full-fibre infrastructure such as underground cables that connect premises to the internet.

Its engineers only set up a Truespeed network once the company has received sufficient demand in an area made by online requests.

The company says it has doubled the size of its network in the past year. It aims to establish fibre-optic connectivity to “underserved” rural areas.

In January 2021 it was selected to rollout full-fibre broadband networks in Devon and Somerset by a government-backed programme. Work on the network is expected to start this year and be completed in 2024.

Truespeed has contracts to build full-fibre infrastructure in Bath and Wells, while in December it announced the start of its network build in Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet and Street.

Its network is used by local businesses such as Yeo Valley and Thatchers Cider.

“We are delighted that our continuing relationship with Aviva Investors has provided this next tranche of investment,” said James Lowther, who was appointed Truespeed CEO last month. “This will allow us to significantly accelerate our roll-out, enabling us to connect more customers to our ultrafast, ultra-reliable full-fibre service.”

Sean McLachlan, senior director, infrastructure, at Aviva Investors, said: “Since our initial investment in 2017, Truespeed has continued to successfully deliver essential gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure to under-served locations across the South West of the UK. This second tranche of funding reflects our belief that the company and its activities not only represent a sound investment, but also create significant social benefits for local communities across the country.”

During the 2019 general election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a manifesto pledge to bring full-fibre broadband to the whole of the UK by 2025.

However, the government has since watered down its commitment to reaching 85% of the country by 2025 – a target that industry experts have also cast doubt on.