An Oswestry firm has signed a $500 million agreement with a Dutch pension fund to expand its business.

The deal will see APG Group acquire a 16.7% stake in Sifi Networks America, the company co-founded by New Saints chairman Mike Harris, and will establish a joint venture to continue the company's fibre-optic networks in the United States.

The Company is constructing so-called "Fibre to the home"(FTTH) networks in multiple US cities and has signed development agreements with many more, it says.

It added that the deal will help "bridge the digital divide" in the US, where over one-third of households do not have access to high-speed internet, by offering fibre connections to those under-served communities

"Over the past year with so many people working from home, it has become apparent how important it is to have a strong, reliable, and fast residential internet connection," said a spokesperson.

"The joint venture targets areas within the US that have not been high priority for the large telecom providers to build fibre connections. By rolling out these connections, Fiber JV accelerates the digitalization of the US. "

The Transaction represents a continuation of the partnerships formed from APG’s participation as the cornerstone investor in the firm's Smart City Infrastructure Fund projectwhich saw SiFi begin to deploy fibre-optic networks in Fullerton, California, in 2019. The Fullerton network construction is well progressed and live customer connections have commenced.

Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO at SiFi Networks, said: "We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in APG, who has the financial resources and desire to create real social impact to enable our market leading open-access networks to roll out across the USA. Cities, Consumers and ISPs can all benefit from our citywide fiber optic networks.

"From enabling Smart City applications, driving economic development and closing the digital divide the advantages of becoming a 'FiberCity' are staggering and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what is possible."