BT Ireland posted a 26% rise in revenues to EUR470 million in 2005, but voiced dissatisfaction over eircom’s continued heel-dragging regarding incremental local loop unbundling (LLU), and its ‘exasperation’ with the Irish regulatory regime which is says has resulted in ‘aimless’ talks on facilitating broadband in Ireland.
BT Ireland’s chief executive Danny McLaughlin told ElectricNews.net: ‘The two words I’ve become used to hearing since I’ve come here is ‘eventually’ and ‘patience’,’ adding that he was extremely annoyed about the impasse over LLU.
In April BT Ireland withdrew from industry negotiations with eircom on improving wholesale broadband provision saying the incumbent continued ‘to frustrate the progress of LLU and we do not see positive indications that a future change of ownership at the monopoly provider will bring a more progressive approach.’ The talks, which were facilitated by ComReg and attended by eircom, BT, Smart and Magnet Networks, were instigated to implement an automated process for alternative operators to offer broadband services in the last mile. BT said it was ‘with great reluctance’ that it was withdrawing from the talks. At the time, Danny McLoughlin said: ’eircom’s stance will jeopardise industry investment and impact on Ireland’s competitiveness.’ The CEO says he has the full support of several other Irish broadband operators, including Magnet and Smart Telecom.
BT Ireland posted double digit percentage revenue growth across all divisions in 2005 and reported strong earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EUR34 million. Its acquisition of IT service firm Cara in November 2005 increased BT’s operating costs, although the Irish company contributed EUR20 million to BT’s revenues. BT Ireland claims to have signed up 35,000 broadband subscribers, compared with 31,000 last year.