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Rural network builder Broadway Partners faces financial challenges: Administrators appointed

THE MOUNTING financial strain on Britain’s fibre broadband infrastructure providers has claimed its first victim, with rural network builder Broadway Partners in Scotland and Wales calling in administrators. The company, which launched in 2016, has encountered significant challenges as soaring costs and rising interest rates have impacted its balance sheet. The news comes amidst a broader trend of financial pressure on fibre infrastructure players in the UK.

Broadway Partners had set an ambitious target of connecting 250,000 homes and businesses by 2025, with a focus on bridging the digital divide in rural areas, particularly in Wales and Scotland. The company had made progress in achieving this goal, already connecting thousands of premises in locations including Arran, Ayrshire, Perth & Kinross, Monmouthshire, and Pembrokeshire.

However, the mounting financial pressures proved insurmountable, leading to the appointment of Teneo Financial Advisory as administrators for Broadway Partners. While the collapse of the company puts over 130 jobs at risk, sources indicate that sufficient funding is available to keep the business trading during the administration process while a suitable buyer is sought.

Broadway Partners’ financial troubles follow its announcement two years ago of a funding package worth £145m from investment firm Downing LLP. The company said that as of now, Downing had invested only around 20% of the figure promised.

The situation highlights the challenges faced by fibre network builders in the UK, with Broadway Partners among several companies experiencing severe financial strain. Industry insiders suggest that other players in the sector may also face insolvency in the coming months.

The UK’s fibre infrastructure market is dominated by BT’s Openreach division, but it also includes significant competitors such as CityFibre Holdings and emerging players like Virgin Media 02. These companies have been grappling with escalating costs, as well as supply chain and labour issues, hindering their path to profitability. As a result, the industry has seen a growing need for consolidation.

The collapse of Broadway Partners underscores the complexities of operating in the rapidly evolving broadband infrastructure landscape. It highlights the importance of finding sustainable solutions to bridge the digital divide and provide affordable, high-speed broadband services, particularly in remote regions. The situation serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by companies operating in this sector and the urgency of addressing these issues.

The Pembrokeshire Herald’s attempts to reach Broadway Partners for comment on the matter were unsuccessful, and Teneo Financial Advisory declined to comment further. The industry will closely monitor the developments surrounding Broadway Partners’ administration process and the potential impact on the broader fibre broadband infrastructure landscape in the UK.