Canadian cable operator Shaw Communications has signed a $270m (C$400m) deal with 360networks, the high-speed fibre-optic network headed up by former Microsoft CFO Greg Maffei.

The agreement, which sees Shaw take an $100m equity stake in 360networks, gives the company a significant boost as a high-speed provider to its 1.8 million customers. Vancouver-based 360networks is constructing a 90,000 km global network including terrestrial fibre-optic networks in North America and Europe along with sub-oceanic cable links to South America.

360networks is also preparing for a $510m initial public offering as well as a high-yield debt offering which is expected to raise a further $680m; other investors include New York investment house Goldman Sachs.