France’s biggest optical fibre Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contract to date, and one of the largest undertakings of its kind in Europe, has successfully reached financial close for private financing of €900 million. The Très Haut Débit (THD, Very High-speed Broadband) Est, project will connect approximately one million households and businesses across over 3,600 population centres. Construction of the project is due to be completed in 2022, with a total term of 35 years.
Management, engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald acted as lenders’ technical advisor to the public works group NGE and telecommunications infrastructure firm Altitude Infrastructure during the scheme’s financing stage. The consultancy will now provide construction monitoring services in an ongoing role.
During financing, Mott MacDonald analysed the project risk profile, and advised the lenders on potential technical challenges in areas such as contract documentation, design and construction schedule and operation. The consultancy will now monitor construction to verify the scheme is being delivered within its agreed schedule, and that drawdowns are made according to the works contracts.
“By rapidly mobilising our team of experts we were able to provide the lenders with the assurances they needed to secure financing for this project in less than 20 days, which is very quick compared to industry standards,” says Mott MacDonald’s Project Director Antoine Bonnafous. “Our work on this project has enabled us to strengthen our portfolio and expertise in high-speed optical fibre broadband networks, which is good news as a number of projects in this sector are due to be released across Europe over the next few years.”
Mott MacDonald also acted as lenders’ technical advisor on the THD Alsace PPP scheme, which will connect a minimum of 370,000 households and businesses to very high-speed Internet services in more than 700 population centres.