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UK ISP BT Tops 1.9m Retail FTTC Users as Broadband Customers Hit 7.11 Million

Friday, January 31st, 2014 (8:00 am) - Score 1,123
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The retail division of BT has ended 2013 with a total fixed line broadband ISP subscriber base of 7,111,000 and that represents a stable growth of +150k in Q4 2013 (down slightly from +156k in Q3). The figure includes 1.9 Million superfast BTInfinity (FTTC) customers (up by +228k in Q4 vs +195k added in Q3).

Meanwhile BT’s Wholesale and Openreach divisions reported that the operators superfast “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network was now available to more than 18 million UK premises and the total number of subscribers, when you also include FTTC users on other ISPs (e.g. Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Zen Internet etc.), rises to around 2.4 million (+339k in Q4 2013 vs +316k in Q3 and +265k in Q2).

The BTWholesale network is also now home to 8,997,000 broadband customers, which includes connections from BT and other BT-based ISPs, although this represents a slower quarterly growth of +36k for Q4 2013 (down sharply from +101k in Q3). The report also notes that there are now a total of 9,241,000 unbundled lines (LLU) in the market (e.g. Sky Broadband, TalkTalk etc.), which represents a strong Q4 growth of +216k (up from +67k in Q3 and +99k in Q2).

Gavin Patterson, BT Group’s CEO, said:

This is an encouraging set of results, with profit before tax up 8%, earnings per share up 12% and growth in revenue. Our strategic investments are delivering. It was another record quarter for fibre take-up and there are now more than 18 million premises with access to our fibre. That number will grow further as the BDUK programme progresses.

Fibre helps SMEs to compete and underpins our TV plans. Our direct BT Sport customer base passed 2.5 million in the quarter and helped to support 6% revenue growth in our Consumer business. We achieved some particularly strong audience figures in December and the exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League that we have won will further strengthen the appeal of our proposition.”

So, what about that huge TV gamble on the retail front? Patterson notes above that its BTSport TV service is now home to more than 2.5 million direct customers (includes subscribers watching via satellite, BT TV, online or via the app), although many of those will be coming from BT’s existing consumer TV and broadband base that benefits from free access to the content.

However the BT TV / Vision (IPTV) product itself has seen a decline in growth to total 956,000 customers (up +53k in Q4 2013 vs +70k in Q3). So far BTSport is helping to retain customers, although we shouldn’t forget that the content is also being shopped out (wholesale) to operators like Virgin Media.

On the financial front BT Group’s revenue reached £4,599m in the quarter (up 5% from £4,491m in Q3 and £4,449m in Q2) and their reported operating profits topped £821m (up 7%). Total net debt for the group also declined from £8,074m in Q3 to total £7,640m in Q4.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

    These results and Sky’s will put a lot of pressure on Virgin to deliver similar growth.

  2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

    Virgin obviously isn’t likely to match that as they focus on half of the population, as opposed to the whole country, that lives in urban areas. Meanwhile they’ve given up on using BT’s platform to reach outside of that.

    So I’d say their market is fairly static, with much smaller customer movements, unless they extend the cable network significantly and there are no plans for that. BT’s comparisons are thus more closely matched to Sky, and to a lesser extent TalkTalk, where the fight is often over the same areas.

  3. Avatar FibreFred says:

    Now we await the inevitable comments of “1.9M sign ups out of 18million available” RUBBISH!!!! 🙂

    Uptake is on the rise for FTTC tho so… its flying in the face of those people that say no-one wants it… obviously they do

    1. Avatar Joe says:

      Agreed from your figures just over 10% want it.

  4. Avatar Jon Roberts says:

    was actually 2.4m if you include the other isp’s offering fttc 😛

    13.3 percent not bad considering most do not need the headline speed yet, should see this increase with more bandwidth hungry services and rural bduk <2mbps lines get fttc

  5. Avatar MikeW says:

    So fibre takeup has been:

    Q3-14: +340k, to 2.4m
    Q2-14: +310k, to 2m
    Q1-14: +265k, to 1.7m
    Q4-13: +270k, to 1.5m
    Q3-13: +250k, to 1.25m
    Q2-13: +200k, to 0.95m
    Q1-13: +170k, to 0.75m (Openreach numbers)
    Q4-12: +131k, to 0.55m (BT Retail numbers only)
    Q3-12: +95k, to 0.40m (BT Retail numbers only)
    Q2-12: +88k, to 0.30m (BT Retail numbers only)
    Q1-12: +50k, to 0.20m
    Q4-11: +60k, to 0.15m
    Q3-11: +50k, to 0.09m estimate
    Q2-11: to 0.04m

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Thank Mike, very handy so yes that shows a great increase per quarter

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