UK telco BT has celebrated a considerable milestone for its fibre broadband project, having now passed ten million homes and business with its roll-out, months ahead of its end-2012 target.
In its latest results which were announced today, the company hailed the three months to March 2012 as its best quarterly performance for consumer revenues in two years, driven by growth in its broadband base.
The company gained from continued strong demand for its fibre broadband service ‘BT Infinity’ and its hybrid DTT/IP television service ‘BT Vision’. The latter added 28,000 subscribers in the quarter to reach over 700,000, up 23 per cent on an annual basis. Additional content was also added to the TV service in the quarter as a result of deals with Miramax and UKTV.
BT added 136,000 retail broadband connections in the quarter, representing nearly half (44 per cent) of the DSL, LLU and fibre broadband market net additions across the UK as a whole. Net additions for BT Infinity were 131,000 in the quarter, and its customer base currently stands at over 550,000.
BT is investing £2.5bn ($4bn) to make fibre broadband available to around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014, and has recruited hundreds of extra engineers in the past year to help with the roll-out, including ex-service personnel.
The majority of these connections will be Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), delivering speeds of up to 80Mbps (the current average speed in the UK is 7.6Mbps). The company is also planning to make Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband available on-demand in all fibre enabled areas from spring 2013, which would deliver speeds of 300Mbps and above.
BT chief executive Ian Livingston added: “The UK is making great progress with fibre broadband. There are more than half a million customers already using the service and more than 60 ISPs trialling or offering services. This is a significant achievement given we only began selling services a couple of years ago. Momentum is building in the market and that can only be good for Broadband Britain. We already compare very well to other major European economies and given our plans, the UK can sprint ahead in the future.”
Total revenues across all operations and markets for the 12 months to March 2012 reached £7.8bn, down three per cent from one year previously, while EBITDA rose six per cent to reach £627m.