Macquarie to invest up to 30 mln stg in British rural broadband

LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Australia’s Macquarie Group said it would invest up to 30 million pounds ($36.4 million) in British rural broadband business Voneus, its second investment in the country’s telecoms sector after it agreed to buy KCOM last month.

Voneus, which was established in 2015, uses fixed wireless access technology, which provides speeds of 30 to 50 megabits per second, to supply around 4,000 premises in communities in Lancashire and Yorkshire in north England and the Cotswolds and Devon in the west.

It said it would use Macquarie Capital’s investment, which starts with a 10 million pound commitment, to upgrade some of its footprint to full-fibre broadband.

Britain’s new prime minister Boris Johnson wants to roll out ultrafast full-fibre broadband across the country by 2025. He has said the government’s former target of 2033 was “laughably unambitious”.

BT, the market leader and owner of the national broadband network, said on Friday it was ready to meet Johnson’s challenge if conditions were right.

$1 = 0.8243 pounds Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton