Fibre optic rollout gets a R5bn leg-up from Standard Bank

The funding will help expand MetroFibre’s connectivity in under-serviced communities.
Access to internet deemed an important step towards bridging the digital divide.Image: Supplied

JSE-listed financial services company Standard Bank Group has completed a R5 billion debt finance package for MetroFibre Networx, a diversified telecommunications company, for its fibre optic data network rollout in South Africa.

The bank says the debt finance package will be used to expand MetroFibre’s connectivity into homes and businesses in under-serviced communities across the country.

The group is a carrier class Ethernet (CE 3.0) infrastructure company, that provides highly managed fibre optic broadband connectivity in the country.

“Launched in 2010, the company ranks among the top three fibre network operators in South Africa with its open-access network currently passing over 350 000 homes in six provinces. It aims to reach an additional 500 000 residential homes across the country by 2025,” Standard Bank’s statement reads.

Nishela Ramgoolam, executive at Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking, says access to the internet is fundamental in closing the digital divide in South Africa and gives individuals opportunities to participate in a globally-connected economy.

“This timely deal with a proudly South African digital infrastructure business supports our mission of driving positive, sustainable and truly embedded technological growth across the continent, and developing digital innovations that matter,” she adds.

The group says the fast-growing demand for fibre connectivity for communities on the periphery presents opportunities to fill the gap from a business and socioeconomic upliftment perspective.

Ramgoolam says the partnership is a testament to how “doing good” is beneficial for business and further empowers South Africans through digital inclusion, subsequently facilitating meaningful social impact.

“Our next era of growth will be defined by bringing greater access to reliable telecommunications to the majority of citizens, with fibre connectivity playing an increasingly vital role in driving economic growth, increasing access to education, and providing a myriad of social benefits,” adds MetroFibre’s chief financial officer Wayne Edwards.

Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.

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