BT has announced that an increase to targets for the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband. The increase means four million more homes should be offered FTTP or so-called ‘Full-Fibre’ internet access by March 2021, rising to 15 million by the mid-2020s.
The announcement came after the new CEO, Philip Jansen took up his position after the three-month hiatus that followed the leaving of former CEO Gavin Patterson. Mr Jansen said that BT can achieve the new targets, ‘if the conditions are right, especially the regulatory and policy enablers.’
He said BT was ‘really well positioned in a very challenging and competitive UK market,’ but, he added, ‘we have a lot of work to do.’
We need to invest to stay ahead in our fixed, mobile and core networks, and we need to invest to overhaul our business to ensure that we’re using the latest systems and technology to improve efficiency.- Philip Jansen: CEO, BT
The bold FTTP target announcement came as BT reported a mixed bag of results for the full year ending in March. Overall BT saw sales fall by 1% to £5.853bn. Only the Consumer Unit reported growth with a 3% increase to £2.638bn.
Other parts of the telecoms giant reported falls. BT Enterprise fell 6% – Global Services by 3% and Openreach was down 4% to £1.271bn.
BT said the Consumer Unit had benefited from the increase in handset costs, growth in SIM-only and the September price increase for landline and broadband fees.
In contrast, Mr Jansen said the Enterprise division had seen a challenging environment for business-2-business (B2B) due to a decline in traditional calls and line leases, particularly where BT is exposed to a high market share. Likewise, fixed voice revenue fell 12%, which was partially offset by growth in IP, mobile and networking.
Openreach’s decline was blamed on regulated price reductions on FTTC and Ethernet products.
BT’s restructuring programme continues with plans to shed 13,000 jobs over the next few years. BT said restructuring had squeezed £875m from the company’s annual costs. As a consequence, profits were up 6% to £2.159bn.
For the current fiscal year ending in March 2020, BT is forecast to see sales decline by 2%.