In May 2021, Intelligens Consulting wrote about the need for a radical rethink to end digital exclusion with a focus on innovative commercial models that go beyond relying on market forces alone.
This follow-on article – with input from Portland Advisers – sets out our thoughts on a UK Government approved approach that can be implemented by landlords to combat market failure and stimulate the roll out of fibre networks to social housing tenants.
STRUCTURED FINANCING IS THE KEY
In our article of May 2021, we wrote that landlords such as local authorities, social landlords, and housing associations will need to ‘step up’ to combat market failure and deliver future-proofed fibre connectivity solutions using innovative commercial models that leaves nobody behind thus combating digital exclusion.
Stepping up requires social landlords to embrace innovative commercial models and requires significant amounts of up-front capital investment typically unavailable from the public sector. That means any capital investment must come from the private sector (typically an operator) and structured finance models are essential vehicles for to enable that private capital investment.
Although a wide variety of structured financing models are known and have been tested, this article describes the development of a Joint Venture (JV) model which has peaked our interest for several reasons:
- Although JV models are rarely considered in the public or third sector, such an approach would make it more attractive to landlords and would attract private sector capital investment.
- The JV approach is similar to that currently under consideration by the UK Government’s department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to deliver Project Gigabit.
- A JV could deliver affordable gigabit capable fibre connectivity to the most vulnerable sector of the public.
- A JV approach could reduce the need for cash strapped landlords to source up front capital while creating the potential to generate a commercial return for the landlord.
The full article is continued here.