British fixed line incumbent BT has published its financial results for the quarter ended 31 December 2017, and in doing so confirmed that infrastructure arm Openreach plans to boost its FTTP rollout. Specifically, Openreach confirmed that it is accelerating its FTTP build programme with a view to reaching three million premises by the end of 2020. The initial phase of the ‘Fibre First’ programme will get underway this year and connect up to 40 UK towns, cities and boroughs, including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Looking further ahead, Openreach has claimed the work will put it ‘on the right trajectory’ to achieving a stated aim of having ten million premises within its FTTP footprint by the mid-2020s.
With regards to BT’s financials, meanwhile, in the last three months of 2017 the company generated revenues of GBP5.97 billion, representing a 3% year-on-year decline, while adjusted EBITDA was GBP1.83 billion (down 2% y-o-y) and adjusted profit before tax stood at GBP818 million (down 1% y-o-y).
In operational terms, BT said it had a total of 20.6 million broadband accesses on its books at the end of December 2017, up from 20.3 million a year earlier, with its ‘retail fibre base’ – which includes customers connected via FTTC – reaching 5.5 million, up from 4.7 million at end-2016. In the mobile arena, BT and its mobile unit EE had a mobile subscriber base of 29.8 million, down from 30.2 million at end-2016, of which 19.6 million were signed up to a 4G service.
Gavin Patterson, BT Group EO, said of the quarterly performance: ‘Our third quarter financial results are broadly in line with our expectations and we remain confident in our outlook for the full year. We continue to improve our customer experience metrics across the Group, with our sixth successive quarter of improved customer perception.’