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BT Group publish results showing fibre sales at 1.5 million so far
Friday 10 May 2013 09:56:15 by Andrew Ferguson

BT has now published its results for the fourth quarter to the year 31st March 2013 and as usual we will extract some of the key figures.

Openreach who operate as the division of BT set-up to provide equivalent access to any other company who wants to buy their services is behind the fibre to the cabinet roll-out across the UK (with a much smaller proportion of Fibre to the Premises), the commercial roll-out is still on track to finish in Spring 2014 and now passes more than 15 million premises. The roll-out is pretty quick, as in the last quarter alone cabinets serving some 1.8 million premises were enabled. Homes passed versus subscriptions is an important figure, and to date Openreach has 1.5 million subscriptions to its GEA-FTTC and GEA-FTTP products, adding 270,000 in the last quarter.

As 2013 progresses we should hopefully start to get some figures on how take-up is performing in the various BDUK project areas, with ten contracts signed in the last quarter and another nine before that the pace of work should increase. We expect the bulk of the work to be in 2014, particularly as engineering teams complete the commercial roll-out. Take-up rates in the joint BDUK/BT/Council projects will be interesting to see, particularly as the projects usually include a fairly large spend on driving demand, and many broadband campaigners believe take-up of better broadband or making broadband available for the first time will mean much higher take-up than in the cities.

BT Wholesale who operate the 21CN WBC IP network, that is used not just by the big providers like BT Retail, EE and Plusnet but by many of the pro-sumer/business sector providers has now got its ADSL2+ network rolled to more than 90% of premises.

BT Retail (which incorporates Plusnet figures) is the visible arm that most people think of when they talk about BT, consumes services from BT Wholesale and Openreach, and to date has been the driving force at the retail level for selling the FTTC and the FTTP products. In the last quarter the BT Infinity products added 211,000 customers, giving the retail arm a total of 1.3 million fibre customers (78% share), which is an impressive add, but there are signs that fibre sales to other providers like Sky and TalkTalk are starting to pick up. Overall BT Retail added 136,000 broadband customers (much of the fibre increase is existing fibre customers upgrading) taking their total to 6.69 million.

The launch of BT Sport may mean that BT Retail see a big boost in numbers, particularly with the launch of the channels free to view for BT Retail broadband customers at the same time of lower priced entry level products for ADSL2+ (£10/month) and Infinity (£15/month), the biggest evidence for popularity of BT Sport will the number of TV service subscriptions, which currently standard at 810,000 (an add of 40,000 in the quarter).


Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
Isn't the headline (fibre sales at 1.5 million) highly misleading? They are mostly VDSL over old decaying copper wires, nothing to boast about.

Genuine fibre lines are hopelessly overpriced (see e.g. FTTPoD).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Headline is a headline, not a full paragraph of text to explain the nuances of all the various products.

The fact it is mainly FTTC is covered in article body.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
The ASA allow it to be called Fibre broadband so the headline is right
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
The man on the Clapham omnibus thinks fibre is fibre to the cabinet with copper twisted pair or VM coax to the home.

That battle is long lost, so turn your decaying brain cells to a more productive use.
Posted by chaz6 over 4 years ago
I have to agree that calling copper fibre is grossly misleading, and Ofcom/ASA are complicit in this falsification.
Posted by Borisvon over 4 years ago
so 15 million possible connections but only 1.5 million actual additional customers? maybe if they did the none virgin enabled areas the number would have been higher or did I misunderstand?
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
I keep saying... Once FTTC is available, Give them 6 months to move, then REMOVE the ADSL/ADSL2+ options. Move this kit to exchanges where you are not planning to install FTTC. Make people migrate. Why would they migrate if they do not need to? It is the 2% on here that want the blazingly fast speeds. The rest of the country needs to be dragged kicking and screaming...
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Someone is hopeless unaware of the time for full fibre deployment and the costs involved... No UK provider has the funds for such a venture.
Posted by ian72 over 4 years ago
@borisvon - I suspect most companies that have a premium product offering that is relatively new to the market would be pleased to hit 10% market takeup in these timescales. That sort of conversion rate from an existing (mostly capable) cheaper solution seems pretty good.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
Nice. Maybe they'll finally get around to providing the leased line we asked for back in January. They are already a month beyond their original 90 days.
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
i assume JNeuhoff is not serviced from an FTTc enabled Exchnage / Cab then
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
Andue that a discussion between you and you provider and nothing to do With NGA / FTTC
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@AndrueC: That's more than we achieved, BT never ever answered our enquiries about leased lines :) Good luck with your leased line install.

@fastman: Our's is an exchange only line in a town of 10 000. Our local council never bothered to apply for NGA broadband fundings. We are looking into moving our office elsewhere because of that, it's like a postcode lottery. There's a whole nearby business park, yet it has no suitable telecom services.
Posted by Callumpy over 4 years ago
I agree 1.5 million isn't a number for them to be happy about when there are 15 million possible connections. They have done a quick job rolling out this new network but they have done it incredibly wrong, areas that already have a full fibre service DO NOT need a FTTC service.
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
Jneuhoff can you drop me a pm and ill see if there are any other optons for you
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Where are these areas that have a 'full fibre service'?
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
I think he's referring to the highly populated profitable areas that are called urban populations. Also he seems to think that there are still publicly owned utilities that have no requirement for ROI and that there should be no competition just monopolies.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Full fibre service?
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Unless Callumpy is referring to Virgin cable, which certainly isn't full fibre.
Posted by Discus over 4 years ago
I disagree with vicdupreez a long way above. Before I moved, I was on an exchange where top speed was about 3 meg, we got around 2. I would have paid to upgrade to fibre, but they deemed the area not profitable enough to upgrade, I would have bitten their hand off to upgrade. I have since moved home to a ADSL2+ and fibre enabled exchange. I am happy with my 8 fold speed increase. Why should I pay £10pm more for something I don't want?
Posted by zyborg47 over 4 years ago
@vicdupreez, there is a few problems with your idea. Some Isps still don't offer a FTTC option and if they do, it is not always value for money. Another problem is that FTTc cost more per month. some people who are pretty close to the exchange are happy with their speed on ADSL. also some people don't need 40Mb/s.
If i go back to fixed line broadband, I would go back to ADSl, not interested in FTTC as only the larger companies do it at a price I would pay

Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago

Your council is about to learn the error of its decision-making, as businesses and residents pack up and leave for somewhere that, at minimum has BDUK coverage (though if they've decided to move, it seems prudent to move somewhere fibre is already active.

But I fail to see how your demand for full-fibre would actually help your case. If BT decides your area is uneconomic to deploy FTTC then it would be assuredly uneconomic to deploy full fibre.

How would it improve things for you?
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Exactly. FTTC is much cheaper and better ROI so why would they give you FTTP?
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
There's an interesting graph in the slides attached to the results - it shows the take-up rate over time, broken down into different deployment phases (see 1st slides, on p42)

It shows take-up of phase 2 running at 11%, phase 4 consistently better and now running at 15%. Phase 8 is roughly following the phase 4 curve.

Slide 76 in the 2nd part shows they're aiming at 4-5 million subs in 3-4 years, if they do a 90% rollout (ie they get the BDUK contracts).

That'd be about 20%.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: You really sound like a BT advocate here.

I know there are quite a few businesses here who have demanded fibre line services in our town, the local council however has just worked against the interests of its own communities. They are now dealing with the consequences: Town going downhill quickly, the only kind of businesses coming in here are charity shops or pubs, there are now a number empty High Street premises here.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Only an advocate of common-sense, I'm afraid.

And common-sense tells me we can't afford something that costs over £1000 per home when the homeowner is only willing to spend £5 per month extra, of which half (or less) filters down to paying for that infrastructure.

If we went for full FTTP only, it'd be a 20-30 year rollout, or more, constrained by finances. We're already getting lots of anguish from a 5-6 year rollout. The current digital divide would be massively increased over that time.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
As for my opinion on BT...

Only twice in my life have I had my expectations met for datacomms, my response a distinct "wow".

Cable has always been a distinct disappointment, in their rollout, in their vision, and in their technical ability to cope with scale.

Mobile has had a couple of "wow-ish" moments, but it always ultimately suffers from congestion problems.

LLU is only about cost.

So the only moments when someone has *delivered* to me personally has been when BT provided the original ADSL 13 years ago, and when BT provided FTTC 2 years ago.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
JNeuhoff, are you saying that your business has asked for a leased line and they never got back to you? Its a standard ordering process?
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@GMAN99: BT couldn't be bothered to anwer our leased line enquiries. Since then, we have learned from 3rd party sources that the costs would be much higher than either moving office and renting external office space in another town.

@WWWombat: You must be an exception then with your BT experience. We have always encountered the poorest customer service possible, and only LLU saved our business for the time being. As an interim solution we are investigating a long-distance wireless link in attempt to bypass BT altogether before moving.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
I don't use BT at a retail level, and I'm not talking about "customer service" - where I know BT can do things considerably better.

I'm talking merely about the deployment of hardware nationwide - and there isn't anyone else prepared, at wholesale level, to do a better job for deploying kit for *residential* customers across most of the country.

So when I look at the financial results, I'm looking at what kind of hardware capability they're looking at for the future. It tells us what they think they can afford to deploy for mass use.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
To be honest the LLU providers when our exchanged was unbundled gave extremely poor service both in line performance as well as CS experience.

BT in my experience gave the best product and service levels.

So sounds like a pretty mixed bag when it comes to the comms providers and all of them need to do some work with giving a more consistant CS experience.
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
Sorry... I should have been more clear. BT should provide a like for like package on the FTTC side that costs just the same as the XDSL variant, and is a pretty automatic switchover. I realise that people may not move because there is a difference in cost. What I am trying to say is that people will ONLY move if it is cheaper, or there is a measurable benefit to them. If not, they will happily stay where they are.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago

If the FTTC roll-out was run by BT Wholesale that might be an option, but Openreach have to charge to balance their books.

Forcing prices down might result in increased contention, meaning people have a faster connection, but only at 3am. Might sound familiar to some people.
Posted by Zarjaz over 4 years ago
"Town going downhill quickly, the only kind of businesses coming in here are charity shops or pubs, there are now a number empty High Street premises here."
Exactly the same story where I live, and I believe in many high streets, and yet where I live you can get a full range of Virgin/Openreach based services. That's more to do with the way we shop changing, not t'internet availability.
Posted by bonjan over 4 years ago
There are 1.2 miles from my home to my phone exchange.
There are 328 yards from my home to my FTTC fibre cabinet.
With ADSL2+ 100% of my line was copper.
With FTTC + VDSL 18.6% of my line is copper and 81.4% of my line is fibre.
I think it's fair to call it a fibre product.
Posted by bonjan over 4 years ago
And regarding experiences I agree with WWWombat, FTTC + VDSL is the biggest change in my broadband experience since the switch from dial up to ADSL.
Cable got close but I kept having issues on a regular basis and there wasn't that much of a difference between ADSL and cable back then.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@bonjan: Maybe I should call my dangling copper wire to our office a fibre line now, too, after all it's a FTTE service (Fibre To The Exchange) :)
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