Redundancy risk as broadband firm Fibrus expect to cut network and construction roles

Rapid expansion and heavy investment saw Fibrus parent record a £38m loss last year, accounts show

Ookla found Fibrus had the fastest download speeds in four counties.
Fibrus has launched a redundancy consultation with its staff involved in network, construction and relevant supporting areas.

A number of network and construction-based jobs at broadband company Fibrus are at risk of redundancy.

The network firm said it is close to completing the roll out of its fibre-to-the premises project across Northern Ireland.

It’s unclear how many jobs are at risk, but Fibrus said it expects to reduce its workforce in network, construction and relevant supporting areas.

The company said a consultation period with staff is planned to take place over the next 30 days.

The redundancy plan was first reported by the BBC.

Fibrus was awarded a £165 million government contract in 2020 for Stormont’s Project Stratrum, which largely involved establishing fast internet connectivity in rural areas.

Initially aimed at 76,000 premises, Fibrus was awarded an additional £32m in January 2022 to connect a further 8,500 harder to reach premises.

Fibrus has also invested its own funds in building fibre infrastructure in the north, with more than 300,000 premises now capable of accessing its services.

Last year it won a £108m UK government contract in Cumbria to connect around 60,000 premises.

Fibrus said it has reached 42,000 properties there to date.

In a statement, the company said: “In light of the imminent completion of its roll out in Northern Ireland, the company has begun a consultation with its staff on the roles that will be affected due to this programme being completed.

“The focus of the company now will be to continue with its aggressive customer acquisition plan, with the company already servicing some 70,000 customers to date, including growth of over 40,000 in the past twelve months.”

The latest set of grouped accounts for Fibrus’ parent company, Ox (Holdco) Limited, show it generated a turnover of £11.1m in the year to March 31 2023.

Although an improvement on the £2.9m it recorded in 2022, the group registered a loss of £38.2m over the same period, largely due to heavy spending in expanding its network and workforce.

The same accounts show the group, which also owns network installer Viberoptix, increased its workforce from 369 in 2022 to 675 in the year to March 2023.

Fibrus also secured £220m from a consortium of banks in the last financial year to support its expansion.

By March 31 2023, it had drawn down £110.8m in loans.

The ultimate controlling parties of Fibrus are two Luxembourg funds linked to Infracapital.

Founded in 2001, Infracapital is one of Europe’s leading infrastructure investors, with involvement in around 60 businesses across the continent.