Ashurst advises Airband on roll out credit facilities to help bridge rural-urban digital divide

Global law firm Ashurst has advised Airband Community Internet Limited (Airband), a UK rural broadband provider, in relation to £100 million secured capex and revolving credit facilities for the roll out of full broadband services across the West of England with the aim of providing to more than 600,000 premises by 2025.

Over 10,000 km of fibre will be deployed across hundreds of rural communities in bid to provide homes in the West of England and home counties with future-proof connections.

Airband is majority owned by abrdn plc, following their recent investment in December 2020, with existing investors, including Amber Infrastructure, retaining minority stakes.

Broadband, particularly rural broadband, is a hot UK investment area. The UK Government’s Project Gigabit is targeting achieving at least 85 per cent gigabit-capable UK coverage by 2025, and has committed £5 billion to ensuring that goal is met. Airband is a frontrunner in Project Gigabit. This financing enables Airband to deliver on its BDUK contracts, and the UK government towards delivering on Project Gigabit.

The Ashurst team was led by partner Laura Ho and senior associate Katherine Williams, with support from associates Maximus Asante and Maja Gliszczynska. Partner Jason Radford, senior consultant Nicholas Stretch, counsel Don McCombie, senior associates Shaz Ali and Rabinder Sokhi and associates Laura Burt, Rachael Bailey, and Lester Lim Kok also advised, as did Natalie Kirk and Jessica Whitfield from Ashurst Advance.

Laura Ho commented: “This is an exciting financing to have got over the line in an increasingly relevant area. We are delighted to have supported our longstanding clients abrdn plc and their portfolio company Airband in this significant step in their journey.”

/Public Release.