The BT Group Q3/2014 results are in and along with the other news today about G.fast fibre features heavily.
Openreach in the last quarter spent £300m net of £94m of BDUK funding on capital expenditure and managed to pass some 630,000 premises as part of the BDUK roll-out. The FTTC/P footprint is sitting at a declared figure of 22 million premises (~3/4 of UK). What is interesting is that even though demand for FTTC/P resulted in a record number of new connections 375,000 in the quarter operating profit only increased by 1%, suggesting as yet there is no goldmine to be had from the fibre roll-outs. With 3.7 million fibre based broadband connections via Openreach take-up is running at 17%.
The last quarter has seen fibre services at the retail level finally start to feature heavily in the various special offers and this seems to be paying dividends for the non BT Group providers as they have grabbed a 44% share of the net additions in the last quarter.
For those who despise copper local loops, the news that the Openreach physical line base grew by 111,000 will upset the gossip that people are giving up their landlines to use mobile as copper is so bad. In fact the 111,000 in the quarter is another record, especially when you consider that the 12 months including the quarter only added 144,000 lines.
BT Consumer is of course the face most people know the BT Group by and even though there has been heavy promotion and use of gift cards operating profits are up in the last quarter compared to the same quarter 12 months ago by 68%. 35% of new customers to BT Consumer are buying a fibre based broadband package, and take-up of Infinity was such that there was 209,000 retail additions, to give BT Consumer some 2.7m fibre customers. The total broadband customer base standing at 7.56 million, two million ahead of the closest rival Sky.
The TV element of the BT Consumer services in itself is not controversial, but the BT Sport and rights costs tend to be, but with some 30% of all UK pubs now subscribing out of a total of 25,000 commercial premises it is not the big giveaway that many view it as. BT TV added another 45,000 customers in the quarter.