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Football and fibre play well as BT TV passes the million milestone

BT’s £2 billion Premier League football gamble looks to have paid off as its TV service passed the million-customer mark.

With BT Sport also available free online to BT Broadband customers, on Virgin Media and sold to Sky customers, the total sport audience is more than five million homes.

Meanwhile, BT Openreach has now connected 2.7m customers to its FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) network, and 78 per cent are customers of its own BT Consumer arm.

Football and fibre play well as BT TV passes the million milestone
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Gavin Patterson, BT Group chief executive, said: “Our investment in fibre is delivering with 1.3 million more premises taking fibre this year, almost doubling the number of homes and businesses now connected. 

“Our rollout is ahead of schedule with our fibre network passing more than 19 million premises, around two thirds of the UK. But we are not stopping there. All of our BDUK projects are underway and will help take the coverage of all fibre networks to at least 90% of the UK, bringing significant benefits to communities across the nation.”

“BT Sport has proved very popular and we are delighted the service is now in around five million homes. For BT Consumer it underpinned a record 9% growth in revenue in the fourth quarter and the lowest line losses in over five years. We achieved an excellent 79% share of broadband market net additions in the quarter.”

Football and fibre play well as BT TV passes the million milestone
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BT TV and BT Sport

BT TV’s first full year with YouView and the launch of BT Sport saw it grow by 192,000 customers to 1.002 million homes, with most of those after the launch of BT Sport.

The sports channels, which is free to BT Broadband subscribers and sold independently to Sky customers, has around three million direct customers. 

Adding BT’s wholesale deal with Virgin, which includes the BT Sport channels with its top-tier package, takes the audience to more than five million.

The next few months could prove painful for BT TV, however, as it swaps out first generation BT Vision boxes for YouView kit. The new kit’s better, but even so BT said it expects to lose some TV customers during the move.

BT Sport was good for broadband, too, with BT Consumer’s share of new customers rising from 50 per cent to 75 per cent after the launch in August 2013.

Football and fibre play well as BT TV passes the million milestone
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BT broadband and fibre

It would be hard for BT to lose out in the broadband game: it operates the UK’s old copper phone network under the Openreach brand as well as selling retail broadband connections through BT Consumer and BT Business.

Openreach now connects 18.4m UK premises to broadband, and 7.3m of those are also BT retail customers – in the last year Openreach added 826,000 and the BT retail 572,000.

Openreach is also building a superfast FTTC network on top of the old copper lines, which now reaches more than 19m premises, around two thirds of the UK.

Of those 19m, Openreach has connected 2.7m to live services, almost doubling the number of active fibre customers in the last year.

This is another good score for BT’s retail arms, with 2.1m fibre homes, having signed up 869,000 in the past year. The rest are with Sky, TalkTalk, EE and more than 100 smaller ISPs.

The fibre roll-out so far has come mostly from BT’s own pockets as it snaps up the easy urban customers, but it’s now working on the trickier rural areas under the BDUK scheme.

Part-funded by local and national government, Openreach is now building FTTC networks in all 44 areas where it has won BDUK contracts, and has put services in reach of more than 630,000 premises, adding almost since January this year.

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