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).