Rural broadband Solutions PLC
The investment strategy of the Company is now focused towards investing in the developing market for rural broadband.
In December 2018, OfCom published the “Connected Nations 2018 UK Report”. This report included the following statement.
“Despite this progress, there are still large parts of the UK that are poorly served by communications services.
- Around 2% of UK premises cannot access a decent fixed broadband service that delivers a download speed of at least 10 Mbit/s and upload speed of at least 1 Mbit/s. However, this has improved from 4% last year.
- While 94% of UK homes and businesses are in areas where superfast, or better, broadband is available, only 45% of homes are subscribing to these services.
- 9% of UK landmass has no good 4G coverage from any operator. This has improved from 21% a year ago but rural areas are still badly affected.
- 23% of homes and businesses do not have good indoor 4G coverage from all operators.
- We also estimate that there are 39,000 homes and businesses that cannot access a decent fixed broadband service or get good 4G coverage.”
The UK Government, which recognises that many rural households do not have sufficient access to fast, reliable broadband, has pledged £200m to improve access across the UK.
The Directors believe that the large broadband players are ignoring rural areas and remain focused on cities and that an estimated potential market of 27m customers across Europe will have speeds of less than 4 Mpbs.
BT estimates that to reach the final 10% of UK premises with 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP technology is likely to require an “outlay of around £4,000 each to pass”.
As a result of these factors, the Directors believe that the market for products and services which provide good quality broadband and mobile connections is significant and therefore the Directors will be principally focused on making investments in private businesses and projects in this sector.
The Directors primary objective is to achieve the best possible value over time for Shareholders, primarily through capital growth but potentially, in the future and only when felt prudent, dividend income.
The Company intends to be an active investor in situations where it can make a clear contribution to the progress and development of the investment. In more substantial investment opportunities, the Directors expect that the Company will be a passive investor.
The Directors believe that their collective experience, together with their extensive network of contacts, will assist them in the identification, evaluation and funding of appropriate investment opportunities. When necessary, other external professionals will be engaged to assist in the due diligence on prospective targets and their management teams. The Directors will also consider appointing additional directors and /or advisors with relevant experience if the need arises.
There will be no limit on the number of projects into which the Company may invest, and the Company may invest in a number of propositions or in just one investment, which may be deemed to be a reverse takeover pursuant to Rule 55 of the NEX Exchange Rules. The Company may need to raise additional funds for these purposes and may use both debt and/or equity.
It is anticipated that returns to Shareholders will be delivered initially through appreciation in the price of the Ordinary Shares rather than via dividends or other forms of capital distribution. In addition, there may be opportunities to spin out businesses privately or via IPO where Shareholders may be able to benefit via distributions of cash and/or shares and/or rights to subscribe in listings. It is anticipated that the Company will hold investments for the medium to long term, although where opportunities exist for shorter term gains the Company may take advantage of such opportunities.