APG Group – acting on behalf of its Dutch pension fund clients – has signed an agreement to invest USD500 million worth of equity into New Jersey-based open access fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) operator SiFi Networks America, in exchange for a 16.7% stake. In addition, the two parties have established a new joint venture (‘Fiber JV’) to roll out future open access FTTH networks in the US. Whitehelm Capital will provide asset management services for the JV during the rollout period.
Note: the transaction represents a continuation of the partnerships formed from APG’s participation as the cornerstone investor in the Smart City Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) in November 2018. Whitehelm manages SCIF, and the inaugural investment in April 2019 was a partnership with SiFi to deploy fibre in Fullerton, California. The Fullerton network construction is well-progressed and live customer connections have commenced.
SiFi says that it is one of the first companies to successfully deploy 10Gbps FTTH networks in the US under an open access business model. To date SiFI has 15 ‘FiberCities’ listed on its website. These seemingly range from operational, to ‘under construction’ to ‘network design complete’.
In the Netherlands, APG has an existing open access FTTH rollout venture with nationwide telco KPN.