Strong performance for broadband division help offset revenue falls for business and global services in ‘ground breaking year’ for BT
More than 450,000 broadband users were connected to the Openreach fibre network during the past three months – the best ever quarter for BT’s open access division – of which 58 percent opted for BT’s own superfast broadband offerings.
Over the past year, 1.5 million new and upgrading fibre customers were connected by all providers, including EE, Sky and TalkTalk, while 851,000 entirely new fibre and copper connections were made – 248,000 of which occurred during the most recent quarter.
There are now 19.3 million total Openreach customers, of which 4.2 million receive superfast broadband. The Openreach fibre network now reaches 22 million homes and businesses, meaning that 19 percent of all premises covered opt for superfast services.
BT itself now has more than three million fibre customers – 39 percent of its 7.7 million broadband users.
BT broadband growth
The popularity of BT’s broadband services contributed to a three percent increase in consumer revenues during the quarter to £1.1 billion and a seven percent annual rise to £4.285 billion. This helped offset declining business and global services revenues, which BT attributed to a decline in voice calls by SMBs and lower public sector demand.
However the company did note that data and networking revenue was up and that it hoped initiatives like the IP-based Cloud Phone and One Phone services would help arrest further decline.
Business division revenues fell two percent to £805 million during the quarter and two percent for the year to £3.145 billion, while global services income slipped by seven percent over the past three months to £1.789 billion and seven percent over the past twelve to £6.779 billion.
Overall BT generated £4.639 billion in the quarter and £17.851 billion during the year, both figures down by two percent year-on-year, but quarterly profits increased by 13 percent to £842 million and yearly profits jumped by 14 percent to £2.645 billion.
BT CEO Gavin Patterson said the past 12 months had been a “ground breaking year” for the company, during which it made investments that would safeguard its future growth prospects.
“Our superfast broadband network now passes more than three-quarters of the UK and we’ve announced plans to upgrade to ultrafast,” he said. “This will be another multi-year investment by Openreach and is the right thing for both BT and the UK, providing even faster speeds in an already competitive market. We delivered our best ever performance for fibre connections in the fourth quarter with Openreach adding almost half a million premises to our network.
“Shareholders approved our proposed £12.5 billion acquisition of EE last week. While we await regulatory approval, we have pushed ahead with our own mobility plans, launching our great value BT Mobile consumer service in March.”
Despite suggestions that consumers are ditching their home phone for their mobile, BT added 76,000 landlines during the quarter and 215,000 over the year – it’s best ever year on record. It said an increase in house building and customers reconnecting to fixed broadband services were the reasons for the strong performance.
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