Thursfields Solicitors has advised wireless broadband supplier Airband on securing investment of £16 million through the National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF) which supplies superfast and ultrafast broadband to rural areas.
The investment will enable Airband to expand its network to an additional 50,000 business and home premises in England and Wales by 2021.
As part of the deal, NDIF has also acquired a substantial minority shareholding in Airband.
The Thursfields team was led by Director Gareth Burge (Corporate) and included Tim Edwards (Corporate), Kirsty Underhill (Corporate), Shauna Halls (Corporate), Lisa Kemp (Employment) and Stewart Coles (Property).
Gareth Burge said: “Airband is a family-owned internet service provider which specialises in providing fast broadband to rural, hard to reach areas that conventional suppliers don’t cover. We have enjoyed working with Airband and its founders, Redmond and Miranda Peel, over the last few years and are delighted to have advised on this latest transaction.
“The NDIF is a commercial fund supported by the Government’s £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund.”
Redmond Peel said: “Providing better infrastructure and connectivity to rural areas of the UK is at the heart of the government’s plan for growth – and is crucial in the post-Brexit economy. This £16m investment means that we are able to play a key role in creating this better infrastructure – providing more robust rural broadband and faster options for people in hard-to-reach areas, and helping to smash the UK’s so-called ‘digital divide’.
“This deal has also been an excellent example of the partnership between ourselves and Thursfields.”
Where there are problems laying full fibre networks in the more isolated areas of the UK, Airband aims to build networks with a solution including a blend of fibre and fixed wireless provision.
Airband currently offers fast connectivity to over 20,000 premises, including private homes, local authorities, SMEs, charities and emergency services in areas including Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Powys, North and South Wales, Devon, Somerset and Shropshire.
NDIF were advised by Shoosmiths in Birmingham.