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BT say two-thirds will have access to fibre based broadband by 2015
Thursday 13 May 2010 17:27:48 by John Hunt

BT's financial results are out today for year ending 31st March 2010 and with this comes a bit more detail on the expansion of the BT fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) based broadband expansion we reported on Monday. An extra £1 bn is expected to be spent to increase coverage of fibre services to two-thirds of UK homes by 2015. This will give many more people access to faster broadband with speeds of up to 40 Mbps available to customers using FTTC technology. BT Vision is also to get a share of £200 million investment which will help improve the current product offerings. BT expect to be able to sell Sky Sports packages in time for the next Premiership football season following Ofcom's decision to regulate prices of these channels.

On the financials side, group revenue was down 3% to £5,356m in Q4, a slight improvement on Q3 (3%). BT Retail, the arm of BT that sells direct to end users saw revenue decline 4%, mainly due to a continued reduction in calls and phone line revenue. Average revenue per user increased to £309 (annual), an £8 increase from last quarter, largely driven by customers taking multiple products. They saw broadband users increase by 123,000 to 5.131 million, representing a 44% share of the UK market. BT Vision's, the TV over broadband service, customer base grew by 16,000 in the quarter (a slight increase in customer growth rate from 15,000 the previous quarter) to total 467,000. BT Infinity also launched in this final quarter of the year which gives users access to the 40Mbps fibre-to-the-cabinet services where available. No figures have been released on customer uptake of this, but it is likely to be low with current coverage of the service still low.

BT Wholesale also saw a decline in revenue which was due to a decline in low margin transit revenue primarily caused by mobile termination rate reductions. At the end of the quarter BT's Wholesale Broadband Connect (WBC) products, those that offer ADSL2+ broadband speeds (up-to 24Mbps) over BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), were available to 14 million premises, 55% of the market. 1.1 million end users were connected to the network.

"We have made good progress this year and have now set clear objectives for the next three years.

We have improved customer service, are transforming the cost base and have more than doubled free cash flow, but there is still a lot more to do.

We are investing in the future of our business, enhancing our TV offering and building on opportunities in our Global Services business. Assuming an acceptable environment for investment, we see the potential to roll out fibre to around two-thirds of the UK by 2015. This will take our total fibre investment to £2.5bn which will be managed within our current levels of capital expenditure.

During the next three year period we expect to improve our underlying revenue trends, and grow EBITDA and free cash flow, while investing in the business, supporting the pension fund, reducing net debt and paying progressive dividends.

We are on track with our goal of creating a better business with a better future."

Ian Livingstone, (Chief Executive) BT


Posted by Gamerwillz over 7 years ago
Good news! Hopefully after that, they plan to extend this to 95%. OnLive gaming service is soon coming out, it sure needs fibre.
Posted by solitaire over 7 years ago
Can't wait to find out when my area / exchange gets the Fiber upgrade (probably scheduled for 2015 with my luck!!)
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
In the same way that adsl has never reached the rural areas neither will the fibre.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 7 years ago
bt are going to go fibre where they can make their money back, simple as that, and you can't expect them to do any more.
They are not a charity.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cd - whose problem is it that the science and engineering of ADSL does not reach remote areas? Virtually every exchange in rural areas has ADSL, but some people are too far from the exchange.
Posted by mishminx over 7 years ago
I was surprised to read that a quarter of the 66% will be FTTH. Will be interesting to see how much further they can go as things progress. Though some seem to expect instant results which is just not realistic.
Posted by RoyBrown over 7 years ago
This is good progress but living in a rural area I read the headline to be "BT say one-third will not have access to fibre based broadband by 2015"
Posted by jtthedevil over 7 years ago
In rural areas you'll probably find some part of your line will be fibre, just not your local cabinet. Then you'll have to pay extra to get to use the fibre to get up to a bistering speeds of 2mb.
Who is subsidising who?
Posted by MarkHampshire over 7 years ago

That's how I read this - one third won't have access. So given that 50% of the country already has the current gen fibre solution over cable, BT's past gen Infinity solution could consign them to the broadband dustbin in half of the country if the pace of roll out is that slow.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Two-Thirds may have access to BT Fibre by 2015, ill be one of them, but i wont be buying the product for its current touted prices and small caps.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
@CB:Hopefully the LLUOs will be piggy backing it by then. In theory it's pretty straightforward for them with minimal (one-off per exchange I assume) set up costs. After that it's just a connection fee per customer same as now.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 7 years ago
Even when BT spends £2.5Billion of its own money on upgrading the network people still complain! All the other countries around the world with fibre networks have one thing in common, they were funded by the government. BT hasn't got a single penny from them for this. And for anyone who wants to complain that BT gets £309 per person and believes that it should be spent on Fibre for them, remember fibre costs £200 per meter to lay, so congrats, you can get 1.5m of fibre! A company bumping up spending by adding a 1/5th of its entire world revenue on cables in the UK is pretty amazing tbh.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Where do you get £200/m from?
Posted by KarlAustin over 7 years ago
BT will in most areas I'd imagine be blowing the fibre through existing ducting, so it won't cost anywhere near as much to lay as if they had to dig the ducting in.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 7 years ago
Why do you think that someone else should pay to upgrade BT's network? As you indicate, it isn't a charity. If it were not so archaic and investment were progressive, there would be no need for such an outlay right now just to try and catch up with VM. By 2015 I can see a choice of some people in random areas having the option of 15 to 40Mb broadband via BT, or 200Mb via VM, with VM remaining the only useful option for others, and the other half of the country being stuck with 0.5 to 4Mbps if they're lucky. I wonder where all BT's customers in half the country might go.

Posted by Luckyknight over 7 years ago
Where is the updated list of exchanges that this extra 1bn will provide?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"@CB:Hopefully the LLUOs will be piggy backing it by then. In theory it's pretty straightforward for them with minimal (one-off per exchange I assume) set up costs. After that it's just a connection fee per customer same as now."

Indeed the sooner Sky, O2 and the other big LLU boys start to flex some muscle and offer Fibre services the better. At the moment BT FTTC is a joke, especially if you are in a Virgin area and want FTTC like speeds
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
MarkH - 'archaic' - BT wanted to install fibre years ago!

Lucky - presumably exchage lists will be published nearer the time of installation.
Posted by audioslim over 7 years ago
Laying any cable is expensive.
Replacing/running new cables along existing ducts isnt, certainly not 200 quid a meter.

Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 7 years ago
i love how people can try and put a downer on this.
how can this be bad news? they are making it available to more people, and it is open to any CP to use, and use as llu if they want.
its only a few months since they announced 40% by 2012, whats to say this still won't increase further if it proves really popular.
@ markH, virgin may have 200mb by 2015, by then fttc will probably be turned up a bit, in theory it can go 100up/100down...
but does anyone really need anything that fast? certainly not the average joe, the majority of people that want conecctions that fast are file sharers
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 7 years ago
if virgin were that great they would have more customers in the areas that they cover
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
If VM cover 50% then BT covering 66% is 33% of the non VM areas.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
well (a) this is conditional on tax breaks, (b) 2015 is quite a long time for this, by then FTTC could well be obselete and FTTP would be required. Similiar to the 21CN situation were BT are still rolling out adsl2+ now when its already obselete.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
CaptainHulaHoop forget the headline speed, the media and masses get fooled by this time and time again, the read advantage of FTTC is the increase of typical speeds in long line areas, 20mbit to 100mbit, far less of a upgrade than 1mbit to 15mbit.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
read = real
Posted by MarkHampshire over 7 years ago

Because Infinity is not supposed to be any alternative to VM. It appears to be simply designed to try and stop BT losing all their customers to VM hence the overlap of the deployment areas. The number of people who will gain access to broadband they don't have already is minimal, and it leaves VM safe in the knowledge that they won't have any competition until at least 2015. No competition for another 5 years leaving VM to again forge ahead.
Posted by gobbybobby over 7 years ago
I hope at least someone be it BT, or VM starts rolling Fibre out to areas deprived of high speed services. The areas I complaign anout my speed being slow (1.5 meg) but I know people with less than half a meg and they live on a housing estate where I live in a cottagein the countryside 4 miles away.
Posted by KarlAustin over 7 years ago
I love how people praise VM massively, yet lambast BT for not covering 100% - VM have done nothing in the last 5+ years to extend their coverage at all or bring new products to new people - sure, they've improved them to existing areas, but nothing at all to those in areas where their fibre passes through but isn't broken out. Unlike BT.
Posted by michaels_perry over 7 years ago
Once again the rural users, like me, will not get the benefits. Those of use in country areas suffer the most from line length limiting speeds, so we would benefit significantly from FTTC or FTTH networks. But as there are fewer of us that in villages, towns and cities we loose out to 'economics'. We are fed up with this discrimination of the basis of where we live.
Posted by WoodsmanUK over 7 years ago
hows this?

Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 7 years ago
Is that £1Bn or £1Bn per annum? Whichever it is would be insufficient anyway since it has been well known for several years now that something like £25Bn is needed to bring the phone/broadband infrastructure up to a proper standard
Posted by themanstan over 7 years ago
Until there is a requirement to supply fast broadband the only places which will get fibre will be where it is affordable. BT will do it based on minimum criteria of £/house. And VM which has a huge debt pile will do nothing but improve the speed on their existing network. And if a requirement to supply broadband comes in are you prepared too meet the expense of supplying thatt? All other utilities can charge the full rate for connection to a network, why should broadband be different?
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 7 years ago
I reckon the amount of money per house that has been put into replacing outworn gas supply infrastructure in our neighbourhood in the past year makes the likely cost per house of supplying FTTH look pretty sick. Other supply industries can do it so why not modern telecoms? They don't even have to supply an expensive good like gas!
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 7 years ago
bandwidth is expensive (altough backhaul side not local loop)

the gas lines that are being replaced are most likely 50 yrs old and are only being replaced as they are at the end of their intended useable life, also they require less maintenance work than phone lines.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 7 years ago
phone lines are an individual pair of wires from each house all the way back to the exchange, takes a lot more to maintain than a gas network that once in can just sit there
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 7 years ago
The copper phone lines to my house have been there since before I moved in 34 years ago and I suspect that is true of many peoples' lines (apart from the crap aluminium ones more recently installed and giving appalling SNR figures) I suspect that good quality, properly installed optical fibre would require much less maintenance than equivalent copper and would be cheaper
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 7 years ago
Backhaul can be expensive, particularly if rented from BT, but the main continuing cost of bandwidth is down to the heinous, swingeing cost of 'lit fibre tax'
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 7 years ago
A major maintenance problem of copper pairs that causes OpenReach to have to indulge in the most frequent and hence costly intervention is the fact that water, copper and electricity don't mix happily, particularly in joints and underground cables
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
CaptainHulaHoop non BTw bandwidth is cheap, BTw artifically increase the price so they can honour their deal with ofcom that removed charging a premium for burst speed.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
in terms of cost what is often missed is that the savings made on failure demand when copper is taken out of the equation. However with the recent SFI rule changes, BT have managed to get out of their obligation to fix faults as isps are now too scared to report them.
Posted by ian4c over 7 years ago
I am a user of Three Mobile. Monthly contract. Have 2 Mi Fi units. Work well most everywhere. Service from the tech side is really good. Had a problem for a couple of months with poor signal. Credited me for 2 months. Would any other provider do that. I don't think so!
For me Three is the best mobile broadband supplier and for that matter my 3 (inc SKYPE)phone as well.
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