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Champions League football helps keep BT at the top of the premiership

BT’s figures for the last quarter show that the launch of BT Sport Europe has helped strengthen its position at the top of the UK broadband league table. 

The new BT Sport channel, which shows all of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League games, is only available to pay TV punters, who can get the channels at a heavily discounted price if they sign up for BT Broadband as well. 

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said that the new channel helped BT add 106,000 new telly customers in the last three months, a ‘record number’ for BT TV. Elsewhere, the results show that a total of 82,000 new customers signed up for BT Broadband in the last quarter. 

BT Sport new prices: What’s happening on Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV? and How can I watch BT Sport on Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview, TalkTalk TV and YouView?Openreach, BT’s network arm, continues to grow and pass more premises with superfast broadband, described as ‘fibre’ broadband in the results although in most cases, customers will actually be able to get FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and not full FTTP (Fibre to the Premises). 

Patterson said: “Fibre broadband is a success story and we continue to invest heavily to help the UK remain a broadband leader among major European nations. Our open access fibre network now passes 24 million premises and we are not stopping there. 

“We want to get fibre broadband to as many people as possible and we are also pushing ahead with our plans to get ultrafast broadband to ten million premises by the end of 2020.”

Last month, BT outlined plans to push ahead with G.fast, an emerging technology which the company expects will deliver download speeds between 300Mbps and 500Mbps. At the moment, the theoretical top speed possible on BT’s FTTC lines is 80Mbps. 

As well as G.fast, BT plans to make an up to 1,000Mbps gigabit FTTP service available to the same number of customers by 2021. Cautious of the fact that telecoms regulator Ofcom may decide to separate Openreach from the rest of the BT group, the company has repeatedly dropped hints and warnings about ‘the right regulatory framework’ and ‘necessary government action,’ suggesting that BT might delay this rollout or abandon plans altogether. 

G.fast is currently being tested in Huntindgon, Cambridgshire and Gosforth, Newcastle while Fibre on Demand has been revived under the Superfast Cymru public-private project

BT’s nationwide network passes roughly 29 million premises, 19.6 million of which take broadband services from an Openreach-based ISP, in other words, TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet, Zen and many more. 

Of the 24 million that can get superfast broadband, around 5 million customers are how taking these services. 

In the last three months, 415,000 new customers took superfast broadband from an Openreach-based ISP (an increase of 21 per cent from last year) over half of which (212,000) were BT customers. The number of BT customers taking superfast broadband is now 3.4 million. 

The total number of customers taking broadband from BT is now 7.88 million, putting it far ahead of the closest second-placer Sky, which has roughly 5.75 million broadband customers. 

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