An ultrafast broadband specialist is aiming to raise up to £200m through a share sale in a bid to expand its footprint and challenge BT Openreach.

CityFibre installs fibre optic infrastructure across the UK, and is listed on AIM.

Its fibre metro networks are currently present in 42 towns and cities, which it hopes to expand to 50 by 2020.

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Greg Mesch, chief executive, said: "We are building 'Gigabit Britain', driven by growing demand from internet service providers and their customers to switch to full-fibre infrastructure.

"Our announcement to enter the residential market is the first step in our vision to bring gigabit connectivity to millions of UK homes and small businesses."

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The company intends to raise £185m at 55p per share, and a further £15m through a non-underwritten offer for subscription.

CityFibre also plans to buy Entanet, a West Midlands-based provider of communications services, for £29m.

According to the group, this deal would significantly enhance fibre capability and accelerate future growth.

It said: "This is about more than just better broadband - this is about future-proofing the digital infrastructure we've all come to rely on at work, at school, at home and in our communities.

“It's also about stimulating the market, creating jobs and growth.

"The government and Ofcom recognise that investment in alternative fibre networks will catalyse growth in the UK's digital economy as well as reduce the country's reliance on BT Openreach."