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Football fans swarm to BT TV in readiness for launch of BT Sport Europe

Thursday, July 30th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

BT has added another 217,000 fibre broadband customers in the past three months, as well as gaining 60,000 new BT TV customers.

Announcing its results for the first quarter to 30 June, the company also revealed that more than 100,000 mobile customers have signed up in the first three months.

It also said it will make up to £129m available to extend the government-led rollout of superfast broadband after beating its projected take-up targets.

BT reported profit before tax of £632m, up 16%, and its broadband and TV revenue was up 7%.

The results put the company, which is buying mobile operator EE, on track to achieve its outlook for the year, CEO Gavin Patterson said.

He said: “This is an exciting time at BT. We continue to invest heavily in our superfast fibre broadband network.

“It now reaches around 80% of all UK premises and we will work with government to help take fibre broadband to 95% of the country by the end of 2017.”

The compay's trials of ultrafast broadband using G.fast technology are progressing well, he said, and it is on target to start “large-scale customer trials” this summer.

BT returned to the mobile market earlier this year, offering a range of 4G contracts using EE's network.

“Our mobile plans have got off to a good start with more than 100,000 consumer mobile customers signed up in the first three months," Mr Patterson said.

“We’re also looking forward to completing our acquisition of EE, which will allow us to create a true UK digital champion, providing customers with greater choice and value and helping to deliver the UK’s connected future.”

BT has added 60,000 BT TV customers, taking its TV customer base to 1.2m – its best performance since it launched BT Sport, it said.

The company has already announced the launch of its new channel BT Sport Europe, which will show all 351 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches, free for BT TV customers.

'Strong platform for growth'

BT said its Openreach fibre network now passes more than 23m homes and businesses – 80% of the UK.

Openreach added an extra 389,000 fibre customers during the quarter, an increase of 14%. This brings the number of homes and businesses connected to around 4.6m, or 20% of those passed.

Of the 389,000 extra fibre customers, 217,000 of those were added by BT’s own retail divisions, taking its total fibre customer base to more than 3.2m homes and businesses.

“We have also invested further in improving customer service and Openreach is running ahead of all 60 minimum service levels set by Ofcom for this year," Mr Patterson added.

“And we are engaging with Ofcom as part of its Strategic Review of Digital Communications which offers scope for deregulation and the potential to create a more level playing field in pay-TV.

“The investments we are making in our business and customer service are building a strong platform for growth.

“And our financial results show we’re on track to achieve our outlook for the full year.”

BT said it will make up to £129m available to local authorities to reinvest in superfast broadband projects.

The extra cash is the result of a clause in the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) contracts that says if take-up is better than BT’s original business case of 20%, the funding it has received should be returned or reinvested into further coverage.

Mr Patterson said BT would work with local bodies over the coming months to see where the funds can be provided early to allow them to invest in increased fibre coverage.

Culture secretary John Whittingdale welcomed the news, saying: “Our £1.7bn superfast broadband programme is on track to reach at least 95% of the UK by 2017, and it is great to see homes and businesses making the most of everything that superfast speeds have to offer."

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