BT to connect five million more homes to high-speed internet

Plans will bring full-fibre connections to 25 million premises and create 7,000 jobs, firm says

Ben Chapman@b_c_chapman
Thursday 13 May 2021 19:40
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<p>The company has been accused of being too slow to roll-out fibre</p>

The company has been accused of being too slow to roll-out fibre

BT has pledged to provide high-speed internet to five million more homes as part of plans it says will create up to 7,000 jobs.

The telecoms giant said it would take advantage of a government tax deduction announced in the March Budget to speed up its fibre broadband roll-out.

BT now aims to connect 25 million homes to fibre broadband, ahead of its original target of 20 million. According to BT, about 4.6 million premises already have full-fibre broadband connections.

Critics have said for years that BT has been too slow to install fibre broadband, which offers much faster internet than traditional copper-based connections.

Other companies that use BT's network, including TalkTalk and Sky, have also complained about the cost.

Chief executive Philip Jansen said: "Today we are increasing and accelerating our FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) target from 20 million to 25 million homes and businesses by December 2026 to deliver further value to our shareholders and support the government's full fibre ambitions."

It comes as BT reported a 23 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £1.8bn between April 2020 and March 2021.

Profits were adversely affected by the impact of Covid-19 on consumer business, a bonus for frontline staff, increased costs for providing services and investment in the fibre network. Revenue fell 7 per cent to £21.3bn

"BT comes out of this challenging year as a stronger business with an even greater sense of purpose," Mr Jansen said.

"After a number of years of tough work, and as we look to build back better from the pandemic, we're now pivoting to consistent and predictable growth.

"We are building a better BT for our customers, for the country, for our shareholders and for those who work for this great company - now and in the future."

BT said it plans to bring back its shareholder dividend after suspending it due to Covid. The payout is expected to come in at 7.7p per share.

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