BT Adds More Broadband Customers Ahead of BT Sport Launch

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 Sport encourages customers to stay as 500,000 sign up for channels

BT added 95,000 new broadband customers during the first quarter of 2013 as half a million people signed up to its new BT Sport channels, which are offered free with any Internet package.

The figure accounted for more than half of the 189,000 users added to the Openreach wholesale network, a 20 percent year-on-year increase, bringing the total user base to 17.8 million premises.

BT also added 197,000 new and existing customers to its fibre network, a 30 percent rise from last year, and now has 1.5 million superfast broadband customers. This contributed to the 256,000 to the Openreach fibre network, which now has 1.7 million users.

BT broadband

BT Sport (3)Revenues fell by one percent to £4.45 billion, while pre-tax profits were down by 16 percent to £449, but outgoing CEO Ian Livingston said he was happy with a “solid” quarter.

“BT continues to make good progress, delivering another quarter of solid growth in underlying profit before tax. This is despite the impact of regulation and the significant investments we are making for the future,” he said. “Our consumer line loss is at its lowest level in five years and we took a 50 percent share of the broadband market net additions.

“Our SME business grew revenues by 1 percent, the best performance in more than four years, and our BT Global Services order intake was up almost 50 percent. Fibre remains at the heart of our plans and take-up is strong. Our fibre network now passes more than 16 million premises with more than 1.7 million connected.”

BT Sport

However, customer revenue fell by one percent thanks to a five percent decline in call revenue, but this was mostly offset by the growth of BT’s broadband business.

Of the 500,000 to sign up for BT sport, which launches on 1 August, the majority are existing customers resigning their broadband deals, something which should please BT, which is believed to have acquired Premier League football rights in order to prevent users from jumping ship to Sky.

BT said it is very pleased with the take-up, and expected adoption to increase once the channels are live.

Government connections

The company also mentioned the fact it has won more government funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative in the last three months. BT has so far won all of the money available and is likely to win all of the remaining cash up for grabs after Fujitsu withdrew from the procurement process,.

Nevertheless, it claimed to be the only provider capable of investing the capital for such a long-term project and called it a model public-private partnership.

Livingston is set to leave his post at  BT and join the House of Lords before taking up an unpaid role as minister for trade and investment in the government. He will be replaced by Gavin Patterson, who is currently the CEO of BT Retail.

“I am immensely proud to have led BT over the last five years,” said Livingston. “The foundations are in place for an exciting future and I’m confident that BT will make even more progress under Gavin’s leadership and our talented team.”

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