Industry & Business

BT to invest £6bn in UK network upgrade

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BT to invest £6bn in UK network upgrade

May 05
11:47 2016

BT-email-logo-newLondon-based broadband provider BT said it would spend £6 billion on rolling out superfast fibre and 4G mobile connections in the next three years.

This comes as the company reported a better than expected 6% rise in full-year earnings.

BT reported core earnings of £6.58 billion for the year to the end of March, including a contribution from mobile operator EE, which it incorporated at the end of January.

Revenue was up 6%, including EE, to £18.91 billion.

The UK telecoms giant also pledged to improve its customer service under the major investment plans as it sought to appease British regulator Ofcom, which has threatened to force a split of its Openreach fixed-line network arm.

Part of the three-year initiative will see BT focus on replacing its ageing copper wire that most homes rely on for internet access, with aims to roll out fibre optics to two million homes and businesses in the UK.

The move comes after Ofcom recently stopped short of ordering a split of Openreach, but told BT it must cut prices charged for high-speed lines, install more business lines and improve business services.

BT said the £6 billion investment marked the first phase of a plan to extend ultrafast broadband to a minimum of 10 million premises, with aims for it to reach 12 million by 2020.

It also announced a raft of customer service improvements across the group to reduce the standard time to fix line faults by 24 hours as well as pledging to handle 90% of customer calls in the UK by March next year.

The group added that Openreach will hire another 1,000 engineers this year to help improve its service.

Ofcom told BT earlier this year that it must open up its Openreach network to competitors in its first significant review of the telecoms sector for a decade.

It is also enforcing tougher rules on faults, repairs and installations for consumers, clearer information on service quality, and automatic compensation for consumers when services are disrupted.

BT Group is a holding company which owns British Telecommunications plc, a British multinational telecommunications services company with head offices in London, United Kingdom. It has operations in around 170 countries.

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