Soros finances UK broadband firm with £50m

GEORGE Soros has led a £50m investment in a London-based broadband company that aims to deliver internet speeds 83 times faster than the national average.

The investor, who famously made billions on 1992’s Black Wednesday by short selling the pound, has backed Hyperoptic through his investment vehicle Quantum, the firm will announce today.

Hyperoptic, set up by entrepreneurs Boris Ivanovic and Dana Tobak three years ago, builds and sells what is known as fibre, the home broadband technology which offers speeds of up to one gigabit per second.

The speeds allow users to download a high-definition film in 42 seconds, compared to a UK average of one hour and 38 minutes. Ivanovic, who set up BE Broadband in 2004 before selling it to O2 owner Telefonica, told City A.M. that the investment will allow Hyperoptic to expand into up to 30 towns and cities, although the company’s principal focus will remain London.

Ivanovic plans to increase Hyperoptic’s footprint from 20,000 homes to up to 80,000 this year, and is targeting 500,000 properties in the longer term.

“With this funding now coming from Soros we now have the money to expand in a number of directions,” Ivanovic said, adding that Hyperoptic plans to launch a pay-TV offering as well as its broadband services.

He said that Soros was getting a “substantial stake” in the business, although directors will retain majority control.