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BT Top 7.59m Broadband Subscribers and Grow FTTC to Cover 22M Premises

Friday, January 30th, 2015 (9:11 am) - Score 2,172

BT has today published its latest results for Q4-2014 (calendar), which revealed that their retail division had added +119,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter to total 7,592,000 (up from the +88k added in Q3 and the +104k in Q2). Meanwhile almost 22 million UK premises can now access the operators “Fibre Broadband” (FTTC/P) network.

BT’s consumer division added 209,000 FTTC/P subscribers in the quarter (up slightly from +203k in Q3 2014), which takes their total subscriber base to 2,744,000. By contrast BTOpenreach, which covers the whole market and includes take-up from BT as well as other ISPs like Sky Broadband and TalkTalk etc., reports that the FTTC/P subscribers increased by +375,000 in Q3 to top 3,738,000 (up from +344k in Q3). In other words, BT’s consumer division still dominates.

Overall Openreach reported that their total active UK broadband lines topped 19,058,000 (+258k in Q4 vs +182k in Q3), which among other things included 8,371,000 fully unbundled (MPF LLU) and 1,222,000 shared unbundled (SMPF LLU) lines (consumer LLU lines are dominated by Sky Broadband and TalkTalk).

BT Wholesale also runs a total of 1,873,000 external broadband lines for other ISPs (note: this excludes the broadband lines that BT’s own consumer division uses), which is actually up by +14k in the quarter after showing -8k in Q3. Until today BTWholesale had seen almost two years’ worth of consecutive quarterly declines.

On the TV front BT’s consumer IPTV (YouView + BTVision) service saw subscribers increase by +45,000 in the quarter to total 1,090,000 (up from +38k in Q3).

Gavin Patterson, BT Group’s CEO, said:

This quarter we have delivered good growth in profit before tax and strong free cash flow. Openreach achieved the highest growth in the number of landlines on record. It was also our best ever quarter for fibre broadband net additions. All the major communications providers are responding to the strong market demand for fibre broadband, helping to drive take-up in what is already a very competitive market.

Our superfast fibre broadband network now covers around three-quarters of the UK. BT has been at the forefront of fibre innovation and investment, from which all communications providers benefit. We aim to keep it that way. So today we’re announcing large-scale pilots this summer of ultrafast broadband with G.fast. We now think we can deploy this technology at scale which will enable us to deliver ultrafast speeds of up to 500Mbps to most of the UK within a decade.

I am pleased that we have agreed the 2014 triennial funding valuation and recovery plan with the Trustee of the BT Pension Scheme. The funding deficit is £7.0bn at 30 June 2014, an increase from 2011 reflecting the low interest rate environment. Over the next three years we will pay £2.0bn, which is less than we paid over the previous three years. We have agreed a 16 year recovery plan reflecting the strength and sustainability of our future cash flow generation.

Mobility is a key growth area for us. We are making good progress on our due diligence in relation to a possible acquisition of EE and will make further announcements in due course. In the meantime, our Consumer mobile launch plans remain on track.”

Overall, aside from today’s big G.fast news, there wasn’t anything else particularly noteworthy in BT’s results, which appear to show that they had a generally good final quarter of 2014. However it’s good to see that the complications arising from BT’s move to gobble EE don’t currently appear to have delayed the launch of their consumer 4G mobile tariffs, which are still due for a spring 2015 introduction.

On the financial front BT Group reported quarterly revenue reached £4,475m (up from £4,441m in Q3) and their reported profits before tax topped £694m (up from £563m). Meanwhile total net debt for the group, over nine months to the end of 2014, was £6,202m (down by £1,438m in the period).

Separately BTOpenreach reported that their Q4 revenue was £1,255m, which is a slight improvement from £1,245m in Q3. Incidentally Openreach now looks after some 25,225,000 total physical lines, which is up by +111k in Q4 and that’s well above the +15k added in Q3.

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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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38 Responses
  1. nga for all says:

    And another £94m in the quarter in state aid. Milestone payments at £200 per premise passed. Nao identified actuals at about £104 per premise passed.

  2. hmmm says:

    the cowboy company what does britsh tripe superslow broadband and rips customers off

    1. fastman2 says:

      assume you are either on a copper line only as not want FTTC (out of principle) or cant get it — so your issue is dont care who you’ve covered but the project is a waste as it not covered me !!!!

    2. hmmm says:

      @fastman im on the vdsl tripe and work this out 17mbps on adsl2+ and vdsl I can only get 20mbps apparently by the openreach cowboys and they try to say superfast and 5 times faster lmfao its friggin a farce like this cowboy company

    3. fastman2 says:

      NGA so you as close to the exchange as you are to the cab – !!! and you comain at 20 !!!! – i could introdude to a number communities who dream of 20 !!!! actualy some of them dream of 2 !!!!!

    4. fastman2 says:

      post for Hmmm not NGA

    5. hmmm says:

      20 isn’t exactly superfast like there so called superfast Britain its superslow Britain also goes with rip off Britain as openreach cowboys haven’t a f***ing clue the bunch of know nowt tw*ats

  3. Steve Jones says:

    One rather important issue is that (at least according to Reuters), the figures are showing strong cashflow (as evidenced with the reduction in net debt). That’s despite the pension deficit issue. What this ought to mean is that BT will have more freedom to invest in the fixed network. Although whether demands from the City for increasing dividends impacts that, we’ll see.

    It’s not obvious what the impact of acquiring EE will be as some of that will involve cash. It will, in the longer run, be self financing of course, but the City appears willing to finance it – perhaps through a rights issue, or maybe issuing bonds. So, in principle, it ought not to impact on the ability to invest in the fixed network, but given that mobile is going to demand money for that too, then I expect to see a big demand in cash in the next few years.

    1. MikeW says:

      Ironic, is it not, that Telefonica need to divest O2 in order to pay for fibre rollout domestically. I wonder if France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are selling EE for similar reasons.

    2. Steve Jones says:

      The economic logic is driving companies to consolidate their investments. There simply isn’t room in the market to large numbers of company to compete on basic infrastructure. It looks like were are heading towards just three major operators of mobile networks in the UK (as has already happened in some other parts of the UK).

      Even at the retail end, where fixed costs are lower, it’s still a problem so we are seeing retail offers being withdrawn.

      Perhaps a sign that the market is maturing. Generally, once the economics are settled then things drop back to a sustainable number of competitors at an economic pricing rate. Or at least until a disruptive technology appears.

      Anyway, the upshot will surely be that companies are going to concentrate operations in areas where they can operate efficiently. New entrants are going to find it difficult.

      From what I understand, Telefonica are going to be concentrating in South America. DT will still, of course, have a big stake in the UK market in that they will end up being by far the largest shareholder in the combined BT/EE. Quite what they will do with the stake, who knows. Liquidating it over time to release funds is, of course, an option.

    3. GNewton says:

      @Steve Jones:

      “There simply isn’t room in the market to large numbers of company to compete on basic infrastructure.”

      Your are right, this madness of duplicate last mile network infrastructures should not be there. We don’t have duplicate water pipes, mains electric, gas pipes going into homes. Why should it be different with telecoms? Also, BT Openreach should be completely split off from the BT Group!

      And of, the BDUK should be scrapped immediately!

    4. Steve Jones says:

      Ofcom (and previous government policy) has always been to drive competition as deep into the network as possible. Hence cable networks were to provide for local network competition. Also, there was Ofcom’s insistence on promoting LLU competition and separate competition at the DSLAM level (rather than BT’s favoured virtual ADSL service). Now, with FTTC (and, presumably, with g.fast) it’s full circle.

      However, there is now a problem. Given that VM exists (plus a smattering of altnets), it’s pretty difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. At the very least it would require compensation for the owners of those alternative networks. I suppose it might be considered possible to create a single national network company and just dole out proportionate shares to the relevant shareholders and split off the retail sides. But that would cause immense problems to VM who have a vertically integrated company without the defined wholesale abstracted services and interfaces of the rest of the industry.

      No, there is not going to be a grand plan. It will evolve, but I think it will still get there fast than some mega NBN type exercise which you seem to want which (at current rates) looks like it will take 15+ years to deliver. I think the UK stuff might take as long, but it will deliver quicker benefits, more cheaply on the way.

      If g.fast does roll out as suggested, then FTTP will, in effect, be available to the great majority albeit at a premium price (but nothing FoD costs).

    5. GNewton says:

      @Steve Jones:

      “If g.fast does roll out as suggested, then FTTP will, in effect, be available to the great majority albeit at a premium price (but nothing FoD costs).”

      How do you know? Especially in view of the first (now abandoned) FoD farce? With all the things gone wrong in the UK, especially with the BT/Ofcom/BDUK cartel, a working FoD might be a quick way out for at least those users who need fibre, though it would have to be available nationwide, not just in FTTC-areas.

    6. FibreFred says:

      FoD has been abandoned

      When was this?

    7. No Clue says:

      Im guessing he means this…

      wrongly i will add…….. Providing BT keep their promises for a change come end of April.

    8. FibreFred says:


      give up completely (a practice or a course of action).


      temporarily prevent from continuing or being in force or effect.

      I dunno maybe its just me but they look like different words with different meanings

    9. Steve Jones says:


      The evidence that a form of FTTP on demand will be available (to the great majority) comes from this BT quote

      “It is also planning to develop a premium fibre broadband service for those residential and business customers who want even faster broadband, of up to 1Gbps.”

      This is from the following ISP Review item (where it also states that this is to the majority of the country. Maybe I need to drop the “great” qualification, but the history of the xDSL technologies is that they so become available to the great majority over time).


      That falls short of full national availability of course. This will, of course, depends on the stated intention to roll g.fast out to the majority of the country. It’s worth emphasising this is only an intention, it’s not a commitment. Many things can change (like the results of trials, financial performance, the emergence of competition, regulatory issues and so on).

    10. No Clue says:

      As i stated “wrongly i will add…….. Providing BT keep their promises for a change come end of April.”
      After that period if it is not available again i personally would either A) dub it abandoned or B) Assume BT are just liars again. I guess end of April will tell.

    11. Gadget says:

      @GNewton – picky but important to your statement – there is no such company as BT Openreach. it is Openreach, as specifically required by Ofcom in Section 5.48 of the Undertakings (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/telecoms/policy/bt/Consolidated_Undertakings24.pdf) although an smaller endorsement is allowed

      “BT shall develop a separate brand name for AS which does not incorporate the elements “BT” or “British Telecom” and which will be used in proximity to an endorsement containing the words “a BT Group business (and BT corporate device)”. Such endorsement shall be secondary to the AS brand.”

    12. GNewton says:

      @Gadget: I don’t want to be picky either 🙂 However, just put ‘BT Openreach van picture’ into Google, and you’ll see BT couldn’t care less about this requirement. For all practical purposes, most people people regard

    13. GNewton says:

      @Gadget: … For all practical purposes, most people people regard BT as a single entity.

    14. No Clue says:

      Obviously he has never seen their logo.

    15. Gadget says:

      you mean the Openreach logo here


      and here

      none of which say “BT Openreach”, indeed even their website is http://www.openreach.co.uk

      So whilst I agree it is a common misconception/error (even one of the images used in the links above uses “BT Openreach” as its tag) its use, especially in the discussions in this forum, is incorrect.

    16. No Clue says:

      LMAO a good attempt idiot but if they were using the BT part of the logo without permission that would be copyright theft and unless you were connected to another company why would you want to use their logo?

    17. No Clue says:

      I guess that also destroys the BT fudge packing nonsense of…
      ““BT shall develop a separate brand name for AS which does not incorporate the elements “BT” or “British Telecom”

      That looks mighty like the BT logo (an ELEMENT OF THE COMPANY) has been “INCORPORATED” into the Openreach one to me.

      Please continue to look stupid below

  4. GNewton says:


    “Ironic, is it not, that Telefonica need to divest O2 in order to pay for fibre rollout domestically. I wonder if France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are selling EE for similar reasons.”

    This is not ironic at all, rather, it is good common business sense. They do proper longterm fibre investment in their respective home markets, unlike the mess we see and the ‘Can’t Do’ culture we see in the UK, especially with the wastefulness of the BDUK projects and the focus on the wrong technologies.

    1. TheFacts says:

      The government should have found enough money to fund a full FTTP rollout across the UK.

    2. MikeW says:

      The good business sense is, of course, investing in a way that is appropriate to the market you are trying to sell to.

      For Telefonica, in Spain, commercially installing fibre (which isn’t a commitment to go 100%) makes sense … at least as far as FTTB.

      But the biggest reason for that is Spain’s demographics: people predominantly live in flats there (66%, third highest in Europe)

      What you call, in the UK, a mess, “can’t do” attitude, and ‘focus on the wrong technologies’ is in fact the same as Spain – it is a focus on good business sense in the same way. It turns out to be a “can do” attitude by picking the right technologies for the job at hand.

      The demographics of the UK are entirely different, as witnessed by the same statistic for flats: 18% here in the UK, the third lowest in Europe.

      Every one of these massive telecom companies is moving ahead with improved broadband access in a way that makes good business sense to them – appropriate for conditions in the local market.

      They certainly aren’t doing it a deliberately more expensive, more inconvenient way just so they can annoy you.

      BTW: I thought the “Can’t do attitude” was a hobby-horse of JNeuhoff’s?

    3. GNewton says:


      “18% here in the UK, the third lowest in Europe.”

      Which illustrates the ‘Can’t Do’ attitude: There is nowhere near 18% FTTP coverage for in the UK. Also, VDSL is the wrong technology for many parts in the UK, especially in smaller wide-spread towns and rural areas. As regards other posters like JNeuhoff or No Clue etc: You will notice there are a lot of people who, unlike you, do realise that things are going the wrong way in the UK! As opposed to some posters like TheFacts who can’t and or won’t do their own research, who just keep asking the same rhetoric questions. And then there are some BT trolls who praise this company for whatever they do, even becoming so desparate so as to quarrel over words like ‘abandon’ or ‘suspend’, to the point they can’t see the bigger picture: The so-called FoD has been a farce from its very beginning, it was the wrong product, with the wrong price, targeting the wrong areas, don’t expect dramatic changes, if any, at the end of April!

      For anyone who wants to know how customers view BT, I suggest these links:


    4. FibreFred says:

      Lol same hobby horse , same rider , different name 😉

    5. TheFacts says:

      It would help the discussion if GN would provide specific details here of his proposal for the UK. Would he overbuild VM areas with fibre? Actual 100% coverage? Funding, timescales etc.

    6. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: It was explained to you in the past about what’s wrong the gap funding model as opposed to longterm investment, and how to prevemt burdening the taxpayers. Also, yopu were repeatedly encouraged to do some of your own research. Instead, you just keep posting your rhetoric questions, and you do not appear to have put in the slightest efforts in at least improving the broadband services in your own local area.

    7. TheFacts says:

      The government needs to provide long investment. All agree?

    8. TheFacts says:

      long term!

    9. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: “The government needs to provide long investment. All agree?”

      No offense, you just confirmed with your latest stupid question that you are not able to do an intelligent discussion. Do you even know how to use Google? FoI Act requests?

    10. TheFacts says:

      Please provide a link regarding long term investment in the UK communications network(s).

    11. No Clue says:

      “Please provide a link regarding long term investment in the UK communications network(s).”

      You mean BT have not done so?

  5. fastman2 says:

    fastmas assumes Gnewton not that far from Jneuhoff and fastman

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