BT announces ‘rapid acceleration’ of FTTP build plans as it publishes full year results

7 May 2020

British fixed line incumbent BT has announced plans for a ‘rapid acceleration’ of its ongoing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollout, saying it now aims to pass 20 million premises with the technology by ‘the mid- to late-2020s’.

Revealing the scaled-up plans in the publication of its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2020, BT confirmed that its existing FTTP footprint extended to 2.575 million homes and businesses across the UK at that date, up from 1.247 million a year earlier. It noted that around 32,000 premises are being passed with fibre each week, while in terms of its future deployment plans CEO Philip Jansen said that BT aims to add more than two million premises to the coverage area in the year to March 2021, and ultimately envisages a maximum build rate of three million premises per year. Further, the executive stated that there will be a ‘significant’ rollout of FTTP in rural areas.

In the wireless arena, meanwhile, BT confirmed that mobile subsidiary EE is now offering 5G connectivity in 80 cities and large towns across the country. According to the company it aims to double this figure by March 2021, albeit subject to what it terms ‘the right conditions’.

In its full year 2019/20, the British operator reported total revenues of GBP22.905 billion (USD28.4 billion), down 2% year-on-year, with it saying the drop mainly reflected ‘the impact of regulation, declines in legacy products, strategic reductions in low margin business and divestments’. Adjusted EBITDA for the financial year under review totalled GBP7.907 billion, down 3%, with lower revenue and ‘investment in customer experience’ partly offset by cost savings from the telco’s transformation programmes. BT meanwhile had a reported net profit of GBP1.734 billion for FY 2019/20, down from GBP2.159 billion a year earlier. Capital expenditures in the twelve-month period stood at GBP3.960 billion, almost unchanged against the previous financial year (GBP3.963 billion). Looking ahead, BT said it was opting not to provide a financial outlook statement for 2020/21, ‘given the uncertainty created by COVID-19’.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), EE