Network Rail abandons plans to privatise telecoms network
Network Rail’s telecoms network has been excluded from its planned sale of assets, the infrastructure owner has confirmed.
Network Rail announced in March that it is considering selling off a wide range of assets, including its fibre optic and telecoms network, which delivers voice, data, video and broadband services to enable communication between trains and maintenance teams.
It is also considering finding a buyer for its electrical and land assets.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We started to look at options to divest of spare capacity in the telecoms network. There are now no immediate plans to progress this as we focus on other assets under consideration.”
They added that the sales were not part of plans to generate £1.8bn to fund the Rail Upgrade Plan, an ambitious programme of improvements currently being promoted in the ‘Britain Runs on Rail’ campaign.
Network Rail is facing significant funding shortfalls, with its debt due to reach £50bn by the end of the decade.
In August, Network Rail announced that it had appointed Neil Sachdev and Steve Smith as non-executive directors with responsibility for selling non-core assets through the recently-created Property board.
It has also appointed Citigroup to assess options regarding the sale of 18 major stations, including London Waterloo, Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street, with a report expected back by the end of the year. The proposals are opposed by anti-privatisation group We Own It.
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