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Construction Jobs at Risk as Fibrus Nears Completion of Northern Ireland Fibre Rollout

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Construction Jobs at Risk as Fibrus Nears Completion of Northern Ireland Fibre Rollout

Construction Jobs at Risk as Fibrus Nears Completion of Northern Ireland Fibre Rollout
January 23
09:04 2024

A potential wave of redundancies looms over broadband company Fibrus as it nears the completion of its extensive fibre-to-the-premises project in Northern Ireland, putting network and construction-based positions at risk.

While the exact number of jobs in jeopardy remains unclear, Fibrus has signaled its intention to streamline its workforce in network, construction, and related support functions. The company plans to conduct a consultation period with its staff over the next 30 days to navigate through the impending changes.

Fibrus, which secured a £165 million government contract in 2020 for Project Stratum, aimed at providing fast internet connectivity in rural areas, is on the brink of finishing its ambitious fibre project. Initially targeting 76,000 premises, Fibrus received an additional £32 million in January 2022 to connect an extra 8,500 harder-to-reach premises.

The company has also invested its own funds in constructing fibre infrastructure, making its services accessible to over 300,000 premises. In 2021, it secured a £108 million UK government contract in Cumbria to connect around 60,000 premises, achieving connectivity for 42,000 properties to date.

Fibrus stated, “In light of the imminent completion of its rollout in Northern Ireland, the company has begun a consultation with its staff on the roles that will be affected due to this program being completed.”

Despite recording an improvement in turnover from £2.9 million in 2022 to £11.1 million in the year to March 31, 2023, Fibrus’ parent company, Ox (Holdco) Limited, reported a loss of £38.2 million over the same period. This loss was primarily attributed to substantial spending on expanding the network and workforce.

The group, which includes network installer Viberoptix, witnessed an increase in its workforce from 369 in 2022 to 675 in the year ending March 2023, reflecting the company’s growth trajectory. Fibrus secured £220 million from a consortium of banks in the last financial year to support its expansion, drawing down £110.8 million in loans by March 31, 2023.

Fibrus is ultimately controlled by two Luxembourg funds associated with Infracapital, a prominent European infrastructure investor involved in approximately 60 businesses across the continent since its establishment in 2001.

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