Sunday, 25 August 2019

BT willing to tackle Boris’ FTTH challenge

Chris Kelly
Monday 05 August 19

BT’s chief exec says that the company is open to expanding its full fibre network rollout, providing economic conditions are right

BT has welcomed prime minister Boris Johnson’s plans to deliver full fibre connectivity to 100 per cent of the UK population by 2025. The UK government had previously committed to reaching 100 per cent of the population with fibre to the home services by 2033 but Boris Johnson bought this goal forward as part of his campaign to succeed Theresa May as the UK&rsquo…

BT has welcomed prime minister Boris Johnson’s plans to deliver full fibre connectivity to 100 per cent of the UK population by 2025.

The UK government had previously committed to reaching 100 per cent of the population with fibre to the home services by 2033 but Boris Johnson bought this goal forward as part of his campaign to succeed Theresa May as the UK’s PM.

While the claim was originally greeted with incredulity by Britain’s telecoms giants, BT has now got on the front foot and has begun discussing the logistics of how they might deliver on Mr Johnson’s pledge.

“We welcome the government’s ambition for full-fibre broadband across the country and we are confident we will see further steps to stimulate investment,” Chief Executive Philip Jansen said on Friday.

“We are ready to play our part to accelerate the pace of roll-out, in a manner that will benefit both the country and our shareholders, and we are engaging with the government and (regulator) Ofcom,” BT’s chief executive officer told journalists from Reuters.  

Through its fixed line broadband network subsidiary, Openreach, BT has currently committed to connect 4 million homes with FTTH services by March 2021. This figure will scale up to 15 million by the mid-2020s under the current plan.  

The UK currently has 32 million homes and business premises, so scaling up its fibre rollout still further would be a significant undertaking for BT. However, Jensen said that his company was ready to meet that challenge, providing that economic conditions were right.

“If it made economic sense, and it is a fair balanced risk-reward equations, then our shareholders would be more than happy for us to make the decision,” he said.

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