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18 Mar 2021 | 08:07

BT plans 20m fibre connections after Ofcom market review

(Sharecast News) - BT confirmed its plans to build full fibre connections to 20 million premises on Thursday, following the outcome of Ofcom's fixed line market review. The regulator's Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review sets out how it will regulate telecom fixed access services for the five years from 1 April.

A major focus of the statement set out how Ofcom could "stimulate" fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband investment across the UK.

FTTP connections see a glass fibre-optic cable run all the way to a customer's home or business, making for a faster and more stable connection than most current fibre broadband products, which terminate in a street cabinet and use copper-based cables from there to the customer.

The FTSE 100 telecoms provider said that based on its initial assessment of Ofcom's review, it believed it was broadly in line with the expectations it laid out in its third quarter update.

When taken as a whole, BT said the regulator's plans would allow it to earn a fair return on its £12bn FTTP investment, and as a result, it planned to build such connections to 20 million premises by the mid-to-late 2020s.

"This is good news for all fibre providers in the UK," said BT chief executive officer Philip Jansen.

"For us, it is the greenlight we've been waiting for to get on and build like fury.

"Full fibre broadband will be the foundation of a strong BT for decades to come and a shot in the arm for the UK as we build back better from this pandemic."

Clive Selley, CEO of BT's arms-length network operator Openreach, which services the majority of broadband connections and providers in the UK, said the company had now 'passed' almost 4.5 million premises with full fibre, and was building faster, at a lower cost and reportedly higher quality than any other fibre network operator.

"Today's regulation will allow us to ramp up to three million premises per year, providing vital next generation connectivity for homes and business right across the UK."

At 0815 GMT, shares in BT Group were down 3.02% at 147.9p.
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