DNS:NET is a leading independent telecommunications provider in Germany. Established in 1998, DNS:NET owns the largest independent fibre-to-the-cabinet network in the Berlin area and is rolling out a fibre-to-the home network in Berlin and the surrounding regions.
The company differentiates itself through a superior network, local brand recognition and attractive pricing of high bandwidth products, which drives high customer satisfaction. 3i Infrastructure’s backing will allow DNS:NET to accelerate its build programme to provide gigabit-ready connectivity to its customers.
Following our initial investment, 3i Infrastructure injected £33 million of further equity in DNS:NET to fund the next phase of its fibre network build-out. The Company’s stake in the business increased to 64% as a result, the remainder being owned by Alexander Lucke, founder and CEO of the business.
Since our investment, DNS:NET has performed in line with our expectations. Although the roll-out began slower than anticipated initially, the management team has since accelerated the build programme, signing agreements with two contractors to increase capacity. Customer take up remains high and build costs are in line with our expectations. More broadly, German market fundamentals continue to be favourable, with a 30% growth in fibre-to-the-home connections in the year.
In line with our best practice for newer investments, we have strengthened the board with the appointment of a non-executive Chair, Charles Frankl, who brings a background in sales and technology management functions for larger corporates and of scaling growth businesses.
In June 2021, 3i Infrastructure plc invested c.€182m to acquire a 60% stake in DNS:NET.
Fibre is superior to other broadband access technologies because it provides reliable low latency, high bandwidth and distance-independent connectivity for both download and upload. Demand for FTTH connectivity is forecast to grow rapidly, as consumers normalise data intensive activities such as cloud-based remote working, high definition streaming and online gaming, and increasingly view high speed broadband as an essential service.
Germany lags behind most European countries in its FTTH deployment, with only 14% coverage today compared to the European average of 33%. The market is projected to grow at 30% p.a. to meet the German government’s objective of every one of its 43 million households having access to gigabit speed broadband by 2025.
DNS:NET’s business has a very low GHG footprint once the network is deployed. Fibre is a greener alternative to copper, requiring significantly less energy to transport data and less repair work to maintain. Additionally, enhanced connectivity can lead to a reduction in GHG emissions related to business travel and commuting as well as enable smart building energy management systems, which will further drive energy efficiency and GHG reduction.