Openreach, the wholly-owned, independent fixed access infrastructure arm of BT, is building Fibre-to-the-Premises (“FTTP”) faster, at lower cost and higher quality than anyone else in the UK. In the last year Openreach passed a record 2m premises with FTTP. Openreach now believes that it has the capability to reach around 4m premises a year. Given this build confidence, encouraging take-up on the current FTTP footprint, the regulatory clarity provided by Ofcom’s Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review (“WFTMR”), coupled with the Government’s recent cash tax super-deduction and the positive outcome from the recent 5G spectrum auction, BT has decided that the conditions are right to increase and accelerate its total FTTP build from 20m to 25m premises by December 2026.
Openreach will start its ramp up to 4m premises a year with immediate effect. BT has the capacity to fund this additional build entirely from internal resources while continuing to stand by its other priorities, including investing in 5G and its modernisation programme, committing to a minimum credit rating of BBB flat, supporting the BT Pension Scheme and reinstating its dividend in the current financial year at 7.7 pence per share.
BT believes it could deliver further shareholder value by funding the additional 5m premises through a joint venture with external parties and will explore joint venture structures over the first half of the current financial year.
Commenting on this additional FTTP build, Philip Jansen, Chief Executive, BT Group said: “BT is already building more full fibre broadband to homes and businesses than anyone else in the UK. Today we are increasing our FTTP target from 20 million to 25 million homes and businesses to deliver further value to our shareholders and support the Government’s full fibre ambitions.
“This has three massive benefits: it allows us to go faster, beefing up our capacity to build fibre to households and businesses; it allows us to go further, getting fibre to more people including in rural communities, and; it will help fuel UK economic recovery, with better connectivity and up to 7,000 new jobs.”
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.