Dec 22, 2019

Vodafone nears full-fibre deal with Goldman-backed telecoms group

Vodafone and CityFibre, the Goldman Sachs-backed telecoms company, are on the verge of a new deal that would pave the way for a huge investment in full-fibre lines. The agreement, which could be announced by the end of the week, would be the catalyst for a slate of new investment by CityFibre that was put on ice after the Labour party's campaign pledge to nationalise parts of BT and offer free broadband for all. Before the election campaign CityFibre was in discussions to take over TalkTalk's FibreNation unit, which comprises a fibre network in Yorkshire and a plan to build new lines to 3m homes across the UK to compete with BT's Openreach. Under that deal CityFibre's owners, Goldman Sachs and Antin Infrastructure Fund, would have committed a further £1.5bn to expanding its network to cover 8m homes. That was complicated by a 2017 exclusivity deal between Vodafone and CityFibre covering 1m homes, with an option to increase the number to 5m. A renegotiation of that contract could be signed by the end of the week, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation.

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