RNS Number : 7896Z

Bigblu Broadband PLC

23 September 2020

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 ("MAR"). Upon the publication of this announcement, the inside information is now considered to be in the public domain for the purposes of MAR.

Bigblu Broadband plc

('BBB' or the 'Company' or the 'Group')

Quickline Secures Broadband Grant for Up To GBP6.1m

Exclusive contract to deliver faster broadband speeds to 8,000 premises across Lincolnshire within two years

Bigblu Broadband plc (AIM: BBB.L), a leading provider of alternative super-fast broadband services, announces that its subsidiary Quickline Communications Limited ("Quickline") has won a competitive tender to provide fixed wireless access ("FWA") to premises across Lincolnshire that are unable to access fast and reliable internet connectivity. FWA provides a quicker and lower cost solution than pure fibre and is supported by Government grants.

On behalf of the Lincolnshire Authority, Quickline will extend its fibre-backed, fixed wireless network to a further 8,000 premises in rural areas to connect to superfast* and, in many cases, ultrafast** broadband services. The contract provides for a total network investment of up to GBP8.1m, leading to significantly faster broadband speeds in the more isolated areas of Lincolnshire.

The programme will receive an initial subsidy of up to GBP4.6m, with GBP3.1m of funding confirmed from the Lincolnshire Local Authority and GBP1.5m confirmed from the European Regional Development Fund. A further GBP1.5m of subsidy is available subject to certain conditions. Quickline is also committing GBP2.0m of investment to support the roll-out.

This is the second tender won by Quickline this month following the earlier announcement of a GBP9.1m contract, GBP7.6m subsidy, awarded by the Combined Authority of West Yorkshire. Both contracts form part of BDUK's GBP1.7bn Superfast Broadband Programme that is targeting coverage for over 96% of UK premises and is committed to run until 2026.

Quickline's expanded network will be able to provide superfast and often ultrafast services to premises previously unable to access fast and reliable internet connectivity. It therefore expects to see strong take-up of broadband services, further increasing its addressable market and customer base. Quickline also expects to deliver at least its targeted return on capital of c.15% over the life of the contract.

Quickline is focussed on delivering improved broadband connectivity in the rural areas of Northern England, where a significant digital divide remains and hundreds of thousands of premises are in need of increased broadband speeds. Quickline's heritage is fixed wireless but its network includes increasing amounts of fibre connectivity. Its aim is to be the leading UK dedicated rural broadband infrastructure provider, delivering innovative, flexible and hybrid solutions that can address the millions of premises unlikely to be served commercially by full fibre networks for many years to come.

*Superfast defined as broadband speeds in excess of 30Mbps

** Ultrafast defined as broadband speeds in excess of 100Mbps

Steve Jagger, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Quickline commented: "It's extremely pleasing to have further extended Quickline's footprint. Our ability to deliver broadband speeds in excess of 100Mbps combined with the growing reach of the business make us an attractive partner to local authorities. We believe that our solutions and capabilities put us in a strong position to build on these recent wins."

Andrew Walwyn, Chief Executive Officer of Bigblu broadband, commented: "We are delighted by the fact that Quickline has won a second tender in such quick succession. Its management team has been working hard on a number of fronts and it's extremely pleasing to see the fruits of their labour. It is becoming abundantly clear that there is significant opportunity for Quickline to grow at pace, ensuring that it remains on track to reach 30,000 subscribers. The scalability of the business and potential return on capital speak for themselves - highlighting the strength of the model and the significant value opportunity."

For further information:

 Bigblu Broadband Group PLC                   www.bbb-plc.com 
 Andrew Walwyn, Chief Executive Officer       Via Walbrook PR 
  Frank Waters, Chief Financial Officer 
  Dom Del Mar, Corporate Development 
 finnCap (Nomad and Broker)                   Tel: +44 (0)20 7220 0500 
  Marc Milmo / Simon Hicks / Charlie Beeson 
  (Corporate Finance) 
  Tim Redfern / Richard Chambers / Manasa 
 Walbrook PR (PR / IR advisers)               Tel: +44 (0)20 7933 8780 
 Nick Rome/Tom Cooper/Nicholas Johnson        BigbluBroadband@walbrookpr.com 

About Bigblu Broadband plc

Bigblu Broadband plc (AIM: BBB), is a leading provider of alternative super-fast and ultra-fast broadband solutions throughout Europe and Australia. BBB delivers a portfolio of super-fast wireless broadband products for consumers and businesses unserved or underserved by fibre.

High levels of recurring revenue, increasing economies of scale and Government stimulation of the alternative broadband market in many countries provide a solid foundation for significant organic growth as demand for alternative super-fast broadband services increases around the world.

In July 2020, BBB announced the conditional sale of its European Satellite business to Eutelsat and whilst the completion has yet to be concluded this offers an excellent return for its shareholders whilst providing a key asset for Eutelsat to solidify its position in the European Satellite market. With the remaining businesses, BBB is extremely well positioned to continue growing as it targets customers that are trapped in the 'digital divide' with limited fibre broadband options.

BBB provides customers ongoing services including hardware supply, installation, pre and post-sale support billings and collections, whilst offering appropriate tariffs depending on the requirements of each end user.

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September 23, 2020 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)