The latest financial figures reveal that BT Retail is actually accelerating away from Sky, by adding some 150,000 broadband customers, taking its retail broadband customers to 7,091,000. Of these some 1,900,000 are using a fibre based connection (mainly FTTC, but some FTTP included), with BT Retail in the last quarter gaining 228,000 fibre based customers - a good number would have been existing BT customers upgrading. The BT TV service continues to grow adding 53,000 customers in the quarter and BT Sport has some 2.5 million customers signed up via either the free platform as a BT customer or via satellite or another wholesale agreement.
The picture for the UK as a whole is best represented by Openreach who are building the mainly FTTC based network across the UK. The total number of customers on either a GEA-FTTC or GEA-FTTP service is 2.4 million, growth of 339,000 in the last quarter, with some 100,000 of these via providers like Sky, TalkTalk, EE and the many smaller other providers. The total number of fibre connections with alternate providers is half a million. Less than two years ago there was only 0.57 million customers on the fibre based services.
This means the fibre based service take-up figure for the UK is running at around 13.3% and as TV advertising of the retail services and the roll-out becomes more ubiquitous it is likely to grow to higher figures. In the 44 BDUK projects if take-up is shown to be part 20% then claw-back mechanisms may take effect, to allow councils to recover some of the public investment and either re-invest it in wider coverage or use it help balance the books.
As yet no sign in the financials of the much vaunted abandoning of telephone lines, as the number of physical lines increased in the last quarter by 72,000.