Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fixed Wireless Broadband ISP Connexin Boosted by £10m Investment

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Hull-based Connexin, which operates wireless broadband networks in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (England), looks set grow after it secured an investment of £10m from Digital Alpha Advisors (DAA). A focus on smart cities (e.g. public Wi-Fi), 100 extra staff and a new data centre are all in the plans.

The extra funding will help Connexin to expand its work with local authorities to provide WiFi as a public service (they've already got a 10-year city centre WiFi contract with Hull City Council) and for connected devices such as road sensors, energy, and security systems. On top of that Digital Alpha (a strategic partner of Cisco) will also enable the firm to offer financially strained local authorities "new ways of financing technology upgrades that share the risks and rewards" (i.e. DAA will underwrite up to £100m in smart city projects).

Part of the £10m investment is also being used to build a technology campus, which will include a new data-centre and the company's new headquarters. Work on this has already started and should be completed sometime in 2018. Apparently "most of the new data centre's capacity has already been acquired by business customers in the region," but more is being added.

Furqan Alamgir, Connexin CEO, said:

"The smart cities race has stepped up a gear and this investment lifts Connexin to the front of the field. This investment is accelerating Connexin's work with local authorities. Working together we can more quickly unlock the societal benefits of the internet of things, which means better transport, cleaner streets, improved health and social care, and a whole lot more.

Smart cities require smart partnerships between the public sector and technology providers. With this backing, we are able to provide local authorities with smart ways to finance technology upgrades that share the risks and the benefits between us and make sense to taxpayers."

Rick Shrotri, Managing Partner at Digital Alpha, added:

"This is an investment in one of the UK's leading players in smart city technology. Connexin is not just talking about smart cities as something for the future, they are making it happen right now.

One of the bottlenecks for smart city solution adoption has been the availability of a financial structure that matches the opportunities created by smart services. With our investment partners, we intend to fund up to £100M of projects across the UK so that cities have a turn-key solution of technology, services, and a financial model that simplifies adoption of smart city solutions."

Connexin now expects to create 100 new jobs at its headquarters in Hull and 10 new jobs at their office in London, ranging from apprentices to product managers (details are on their website). Earlier this year the ISP also became the first company in the UK to trial a 5G style 10Gbps wireless link (here), while their home broadband packages offer symmetric speeds of 'up to' 60Mbps and unlimited usage is now possible as an add-on.

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