‘Build like fury’ – BT boss pledges to deliver faster internet speeds
T boss Philip Jansen today hailed the telecommunications giant’s rollout of high-speed internet, saying the Openreach arm ‘continues to grow like a fury’, now reaching 7.2 million of premises.
Jansen wants to increase the speed of deployment of so-called FTTP – ultra-fast Fiber To The Premises broadband – from 3 million to 4 million premises per year.
It should help fulfill Boris Johnson’s pledge to get fast internet to every home in Britain, albeit a little behind the 2025 timetable first promised.
BT today restored its full-year dividend to 7.7pa, back to pre-Covid levels, in a move that will reassure the city.
Full-year revenue fell 2% to £20.8bn, while profit rose 9% to £1.96bn.
BT has completed the legal work behind its 50/50 joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery Arm. This should immediately improve BT Sport’s content and strengthen the business when bidding for content in the future, such as Champions League rights.
BT could sell its half to Discovery later, or not. He has also signed a long-term deal with Sky over content sharing, the latest sign of how the two former murderous rivals are becoming increasingly partners.
On the cost of living crisis, Jansen admits his concern.
“We are very aware of the environment in which we operate. Inflation is a major concern,” he said.
BT prices are set to rise by £35 this year, which compares well with a £1,500 rise in energy bills, but could still tempt some to opt for the cheapest internet connection over the fastest.
Jansen insists BT’s internet is still great value at less than £1 a day.
BT shares rose 7p to 184p today. French tycoon Patrick Drahi increased his stake from 12% to 18% in December.
That prompted talk of a takeover bid, but it seems more likely that he thinks BT shares are undervalued.
The government would probably block such a deal anyway.
Dan Ridsdale of Edison Group said: “BT has been at the center of recent scrutiny, with much speculation about the impact of inflation concerns and shareholder Patrick Drahi’s intentions. Today’s announcement of the joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery, bringing together BT Sport and Eurosport UK, will provide a new focus for investors and consumers. Amid the cost of living crisis, this expanded offering will serve the BT server well as customers begin to look for ways to cut expenses and perhaps cut streaming services. “