Ting Internet’s fiber plans got a $200 million boost this week, as the company secured a hefty investment from private equity firm Generate Capital to help it scale its footprint and operations. Elliot Noss, CEO of Ting Internet parent company Tucows, told Fierce the deal is notable because it is the first equity any Tucows entity has raised in its more than 25-year history. But he added it will also allow Ting to leverage Generate Capital’s expertise in the sustainability segment to help it implement smart city solutions in the markets where it provides service.
The deal with Generate Capital includes an initial infusion of $60 million, which Noss said Ting expects to receive later this week. The remaining $140 million will be released when Ting hits predetermined operational milestones.
According to Noss, the decision to raise capital for its build is directly related to its ambitious fiber expansion plans.
“We have always generated our own cash and are used to buying our own shares back rather than selling equity,” he explained. “The fiber opportunity requires longer term capital in greater quantities and so here we are.”
As of the end of Q1 2022, Ting Internet covered 98,100 serviceable locations with fiber and had 27,800 subscribers. But the company has been working hard in recent months to ramp its construction engine and city engagement team.
In April, the company announced plans for its largest build project to date, covering more than 130,000 new locations in Colorado. The following month, it won a bid to cover tens of thousands of locations in Alexandria, Virginia. It also inked a deal in January to become the anchor tenant on a utility’s forthcoming fiber network in Colorado covering 200,000 locations.
In addition to helping it continue to scale its operations to capture new opportunities, Noss noted the deal will enable Ting to tap into Generate’s expertise in sustainability to offer new solutions in the cities where it operates. Though the exact solutions will depend on the city, Noss said Ting believes “fiber is the nervous system for any smart city initiative. We also believe that microgrids can provide an important synergistic opportunity for ISPs and would love to lead some of the innovation here.”
Generate Capital focuses heavily on sustainability across the power, mobility, waste and city markets. But this isn’t its first foray into fiber.
In January of this year, Generate Capital inked a deal to acquire three-year-old broadband infrastructure provider Ubiquity and its fiber networks in Texas and California. At the time, Generate Capital said it planned to invest $400 million to fund the completion of contiguous networks in existing markets and expand into new cities.