Endeavor Asset Management and Palisade Impact have backed ultra-fast internet provider GigaComm in a $20.5 million oversubscribed funding round that will support the telco’s foray into Brisbane and Canberra.
The Melbourne-based outfit claims to deliver speeds up to a Gigabit per second, which is more than 10 times faster than the national download average in Australia. The network, which incorporates an optical fibre and fixed wireless technology known as mmWave, is completely independent and bypasses the National Broadband Network (NBN).
mmWave is a short-range, high-frequency network technology delivered via small antennae, typically placed on the roofs of buildings. The frequencies are capable of carrying similar capacities to fibre, without the need to dig up streets and lay cables.
The company also offers the latest advancement in copper-based broadband technology, G.Fast, which currently accounts for 60 per cent of GigaComm’s installations.
Speaking with Business News Australia, GigaComm co-founder and CEO Sophearom En shared how he believed the company’s hybrid network would be the future of telecommunications.
“We’re technology agnostic. The reason why the wireless is beneficial is because we avoid having to spend five months digging up a street, pulling fibre through and shutting the roads down. It's highly disruptive. [Wireless is] great because it uses approximately 30 watts of power - it's super low,” En said.
“Sometimes it's easy for us to pull fibre and it only takes us three weeks. It's horses for courses - we choose what's most appropriate and ensures we can deliver the best value.
“I see a hybrid network like ours as the future of how you should deliver the most cost-efficient, high-capacity services to the general population.”
Since launching, the Melbourne-based company has surpassed 100,000 premises in New South Wales and Victorian inner-city suburbs. The latest capital injection will expand GigaComm’s existing network, in addition to entering new markets.
According to the 2022 Speedtest Global Index, Australia is currently ranked 67th in the world for broadband speeds and is lagging behind nations such as Slovakia, Russia and the Philippines.
Palisade Impact co-founder and CIO Jeremy Wernert, who will be joining GigacComm’s board, confirmed the infrastructure investor will work alongside GigaComm to deliver the network to social and affordable housing residents.
“This will ensure we can actively address digital inclusion in Australia and provide more of the right kind of infrastructure to more Australians,” Wenert said.
“The Palisade Impact Fund was established with a focus on investing in next-generation infrastructure that addresses environmental and social challenges, while delivering strong returns.
“GigaComm represented a unique opportunity for us to invest in a company that is both commercially and socially driven, ultimately to improve access to high-speed internet that is just as critical as water and electricity to everyone’s day-to-day lives.”
Coinciding with the announcement, GigaComm confirmed it has appointed three new board members: former Macquarie Capital senior communications industry adviser Gerry Moriarty AM, Judy Slatyer and Wernert.
The new additions will be joining current board members En and GigaComm chairman Peter Shore.
“To have such high-calibre business leaders join the Board reflects the ambition and conviction of GigaComm,” Shore said.
“We all share the vision, to give more Australians’ access to affordable, world-class internet. Gerry, Judy and Jeremy bring a wealth of knowledge to support our experienced management team and will help us accelerate growth”.
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