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BT Retail mops up 86% of company's fibre connections


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 10 May 2013 at 09:31

BT Retail accounts for more than 86% of all fibre broadband running over BT's wholesale network, the company's results reveal.

BT has played a lead roll in running fibre out in the UK, but is facing criticism from rivals, who believe its position in the market should be regulated. Ofcom has already started an investigation into the company's pricing to rivals.

The results show that of 1.5 million customers on its high-speed services, 1.3m of them are using BT Retail.

However, while rivals might suggest the high percentage highlights the company's dominance, BT has marketed the services heavily and stresses that all ISPs get the same wholesale rate as BT Retail.

In an environment where it is easier to focus only on the short-term, we are investing in our future and delivering growth in profits and dividends

BT said more than 80 ISPs were either trialling or offering its service over fibre and that 270,000 customers had signed up for services in the last three months.

Overall, the company added 834,000 customers to its copper and fibre networks in the year, with 424,000 (51%) buying from BT Retail directly.

After reporting revenue of £18.25bn for the year to 31 March, the company couldn't resist comparing the success of its web division with arch rival Virgin.

BT said it had added 283,000 new customers across its networks in the last quarter, taking the total to 17.6m premises, with BT Retail adding 136,000 of those new broadband customers for a 48% market share.

"For context, Virgin Media added 37,400 cable customers in the same period – meaning that for every one customer joining Virgin’s network between January and March, more than seven joined BT’s open access network," the company said.

According to BT, the positive results reflect the investment it has made in the network.

"In an environment where it is easier to focus only on the short-term, we are investing in our future and delivering growth in profits and dividends," said Ian Livingston, chief executive.

"We are driving fibre across the UK, launching high quality sports channels, investing in the high-growth regions of the world and will use our Wi-Fi capabilities and 4G spectrum to make sure our customers will be the best connected."

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