The BT Group via its many different arms is critical to the UK telephone and broadband infrastructure, and while BBC Watchdog gave the impression that Openreach was almost the sole UK telephone installer, there is the small matter they have competition for phone services in 48% of UK households. So the day after a slating by Anne Robinson we have the second quarters financial results from the BT Group.
Openreach Summary: The fibre network (FTTC - with perhaps 100,000 FTTP) is now available to some 17 million premises, and take-up has broken through the 2 million barrier. The pace of the roll-out is shown by the fact that back in May 2012, it passed ten million premises and at that time had a take-up of just 0.57 million. The last quarter saw an increase of 316,000 fibre connections and include sizeable growth from providers such as Sky and TalkTalk who accounts for almost 40% of these connections. Vectoring which is under trial in two locations (Braintree and Barnet) gets a mention, and if it works as advertised by the suppliers could see Openreach offering even faster products.
BT Retail: BT Retail added some 156,000 customers to its broadband services, and the number of new and existing customers ordering a fibre based service was 195,000. BT Sport has attracted some 2m retail customers, and deals to offer it on the Virgin Media platform widen the audience further, and PlusNet customers who have a Sky satellite TV service can now order the service too. The BT TV/Vision customer base increased by 70,000 in the last quarter taking this 900,000. This growth in the TV and broadband area is evidenced by a 17% growth in revenue, compared to revenue from line rental and calls that was down by 1%.
BT Retail has been changing a fair few things, and our forums indicate that for example the £1.75 charge for caller display from January 2014 is making people reconsider their choice of telephone and/or broadband provider. Though a good number of other providers have charged for caller display services for some years, the difference is usually that other operators try to price themselves just slightly cheaper than BT Retail.
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