BroadbandNetworks

BT Makes Some ‘Ultrafast’ Coverage Progress As EE 4G Coverage Grows

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT Openreach FTTC network reaches 27 million premises as G.Fast coverage grows ahead of ultrafast target

BT Openreach’s superfast broadband network now covers 27.1 million UK homes and businesses, with its ‘ultrafast’ service reaching 770,000 premises.

The company said all providers added a combined 505,000 new superfast customers during the second quarter, of which BT added 65 percent. There are now 8.6 million premises connected to Openreach’s fibre to the premise (FTTC) infrastructure – a third of all properties passed.

BT has ambitions to connect 12 million to ‘ultrafast’ services by the end of the decade using a combination of fibre to the premise (FTTP) and G.Fast – a technology that speeds up copper connections.

BT Tower

BT results

The arrival of G.Fast is now having an impact, with 46 pilot areas helping to boost ultrafast coverage. However Openreach has reiterated calls for industry and government to work together for ‘widespread’ FTTP coverage.

Openreach launched a consultation earlier this year and expects to have more concrete proposals before the end of 2017.

BT recently reorganised BT Consumer and EE into a single division and the performance of its consumer busiensses helped offset ongoing declines in its B2B businesses, most notably BT Global Services (BTGS), where revenues fell by a tenth.

Overall revenue was up one percent to £6 billion, while pre-tax profits were down one percent to £666 million.

“Our first half results are in line with our expectations as encouraging results in our consumer facing lines of business, notably EE, helped offset ongoing challenges in our enterprise divisions,” said CEO Gavin Patterson.

“As the UK’s leading converged telecommunications provider we continue to make positive progress on all our strategic priorities. Improving customer experience is critical to our success and we have seen continued positive progress underpinned by investments in operational improvements, increased network quality and customer-centric product development.”

As for EE, its 4G network now covers 86 percent of the UK’s geographical area as the operator works towards its 95 percent target. EE has also promised to upgrade 600 more sites to 4G by converting existing 2G spectrum and will double the maximum speed at 900 sites to 100Mbps.

In total, BT has 29.7 million mobile users, of which 19.4 million are 4G subscribers.

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