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BT passes 16m premises, dominates fibre subscriptions

The telco's first-quarter results have revealed BT's dominance of UK fibre connections.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

UK telco giant BT reported its first-quarter results to June 30 overnight, and came away with a tidy £1.4 billion of EBITDA (earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation) that was down 1 percent on the same quarter last year. The group's revenue was also down 1 percent, and sat a touch under £4.5 billion.

"BT continues to make good progress, delivering another quarter of solid growth in underlying profit before tax. This is despite the impact of regulation and the significant investments we are making for the future," BT CEO Ian Livingston said in a statement (PDF).

"Fibre remains at the heart of our plans and take-up is strong. Our fibre network now passes more than 16 million premises, with more than 1.7 million connected."

It's not hard to see why Livingston puts fibre at the centre of the group — Openreach, the group's wholesale infrastructure arm that is rolling out the UK's FTTN network, produced £605 million of EBITDA, which accounts for 42 percent of the group's overall EBITDA.

Openreach has now passed 16 million premises with its fibre rollout, with more than 1.7 million premises choosing to be connected to the network.

"We achieved 265,000 net fibre connections, an increase of 56 percent," the results stated.

"Other service providers are now more engaged in marketing and selling fibre, and their net additions in the quarter have more than trebled."

Openreach picked up more contacts for rural broadband in the UK, bringing the company's total number of contracts to 29. The rural broadband programme has not been without criticism; a recent report by the UK National Audit Office detailed a £207 million cost blowout and a delay in the final target of two years. BT has received £1.2 billion in subsidies set aside for the rural rollout.

Of the 1.7 million fibre customers in the UK, approximately 1.5 million of them are customers of BT Retail. The retail arm of the group posted revenue of £1.797 billion and £496 million EBITDA — growth of 3 percent year on year for both measures.

BT Retail reported that more than 500,000 households had subscribed to its new BT Sport services, and that most of these customers had re-contracted their broadband service in the process.

BT Sport is due to launch on August 1.

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