Gigaclear has secured European funding to improve rural broadband infrastructure in the UK.
The ultrafast pure broadband provider has obtained a committed debt facility from the European Investment Bank (EIB) worth £18 million.
This is one of the largest loans of its kind to have been awarded to a company in the UK and will go towards expanding Gigaclear's pure fibre, ultrafast broadband infrastructure in non-urban areas.
Fibre has already been installed in rural parts of Gloucestershire, Berkshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Essex and more than 15,000 properties are already benefitting from these systems.
However, Gigaclear has expressed a desire to roll out the network to at least 40,000 additional properties over the coming year.
Since the company acknowledges this will require major investment, the EIB financing should make this a far more attainable ambition.
Jonathan Taylor, Vice-President of the EIB, commented: "Improving internet access in rural areas is crucial for economic activity, healthcare, education and access to key services.
"Over the last five years, the EIB has provided nearly €12 billion to improve broadband and telecommunications across Europe. We are pleased to support Gigaclear’s activities in our first targeted support for rural communications in the UK."
Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclear, added that the infrastructure upgrades will give people access to the fastest internet speeds "to be found anywhere in the world".
This, he stated, will technologically future-proof communities in rural areas for many years to come.
Mr Hare went on to state that by using pure fibre, Gigaclear is not simply connecting rural communities, but instead helping them "leapfrog a whole generation of technology".
Gigaclear has estimated that up to 1.5 million properties across the UK could benefit from its services. As a result, it believes this loan represents a "landmark moment" in its expansion strategy and offers an exciting proposition to communities that have - until now - "suffered from woeful internet speeds".