BT to invest £1bn in broadband


BT will invest £1 billion to extend roll-out of its fibre optic next generation network (NGN) to two-thirds of the UK by 2015.

The £1 billion will take BT’s investment in its fibre optic NGN to £2.5 billion, as it announced 2010 financial year results. BT achieved revenue of £20.9 billion in the financial year to March 31, 2010, down two per cent against the 2009 financial year, with EBITDA of £5.8 billion over the year, up six per cent.

For the financial year 2011, BT said it expects to achieve revenue around £20 billion, operating cost savings of £900m and net debt below £9 billion, which currently sits at £9.3 billion.

BT said BT Global Services revenue will grow by 2012/13, BT Retail is expected to show an improvement in revenue trends over the period, and BT Wholesale and Openreach revenue is expected to be broadly level over the period. “We are investing in the future of our business, enhancing our TV offering and building on opportunities in our Global Services business,” said chief executive Ian Livingston. “Assuming an acceptable environment for investment, we see the potential to roll-out fibre to around two-thirds of the UK by 2015.”

IHS Global Insight analyst Peter Boyland remarked: “BT has undertaken to making super-fast download speeds available to 40 per cent of homes by 2012, and says it expects to connect around four million UK homes to its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) networks by the end of this year.

“Its latest plans to extend this number to two-thirds of UK homes by 2015 represent a significant escalation in investment, and BT says the £2.5 billion investment is one of the largest in the world that does not rely on public sector funding and where the network is open to all service providers on an equal basis. Ofcom recently announced new proposals for virtual unbundling of BT’s FTTH network, but BT has been moving towards this goal on its own, opening up ducts and offering investment partnerships to rivals to boost roll-out.

“The plans are also expected to form a major part of the UK government’s ‘Digital Britain’ plan. BT says the faster broadband network will support plans to grow its BT Vision digital television offering, and the operator expects to be able to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 in time for the start of the new football season.”