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BT claims 80 percent of new broadband subscribers in fourth quarter

Bad news for Sky and Talktalk
Thu May 08 2014, 11:11

BT logoBT'S FOURTH QUARTER financial results bested expectations, thanks to strong demand for fibre broadband and BT Sport.

The UK telecom and internet service provider (ISP) reported £4.75bn in fourth fiscal quarter revenues on Thursday, with profits for the quarter coming in at £747m. For the year, BT boasted £18.27bn in revenues and £2.31bn in profits.

BT CEO Gavin Patterson said, "We have made strong progress this year. Underlying revenue, adjusted profit, and normalised free cash flow have all grown and beaten market expectations."

These strong numbers can be credited to huge demand for its broadband services, BT said, with the firm signing up 170,000 new customers during the three month period ending in March - 80 percent, of all new broadband subscribers in the UK. The firm also boasted that a record 249,000 households signed up for its more expensive fibreoptic broadband service, taking the firm's total number of fibre subscribers to 2.1 million.

BT's wholesale arm Openreach signed up 217,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter, and an additional 347,000 fibre customers.

BT Sport got off to a good start, too, with the ISP announcing that it signed up 46,000 new TV customers in the fourth quarter, thanks to the demand for Premier League football on its dedicated sports channels.

Patterson added, "Our investment in fibre is delivering with 1.3 million more premises taking fibre this year, almost doubling the number of homes and businesses now connected.

“Our rollout is ahead of schedule with our fibre network passing more than 19 million premises, around two third of the UK."

BT said that soon, its government funded broadband rollout scheme, which recently was slammed for handing the ISP a monopoly of the market, will soon deliver fibre to 90 percent of the country. It added that, so far, around 630,000 homes have been connected under the Broadband Delivery UK Scheme.

This news was welcomes by communications minister Ed Vaizey, who told The Guardian, "The UK now has the widest fibre availability of the top five European economies as well as the highest take-up rate.

"Commercial operators like BT, with support from government, are delivering one of the fastest roll outs of fibre in the world and these figures demonstrate that the government's aim to provide access to superfast speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017 is well on track."

BT said it expects revenues to be flat going forward, but will likely grow in the year ending March 2016. µ


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