Belfast Telegraph

BT profits boosted by roll-out of fibre optic broadband

BY Clare Weir

Bt in Ireland, which includes its Northern Ireland operations, posted an increase in both revenue and profits in its full year results as it made fibre optic broadband available to 90% of households and businesses here.

Colm O'Neill, chief executive at BT Ireland, told the Belfast Telegraph that diversification and fast delivery of services has helped keep the company buoyant.

"We have a very hardworking team in Ireland who have done exceptionally well considering the challenges in the industry and the challenges facing the economy as a whole," he said.

"Our people in Northern Ireland have worked hard throughout the year, particularly on the roll-out of fibre broadband, a big investment for us which now means nine out of ten households and businesses in Northern Ireland can have access to our fibre products in a project completed ahead of schedule."

For its all-Ireland operation for the full year to March 31, 2012, there was a reported revenue of £757m, up 1% year on year, while profits increased by 9% year on year.

Free Cash Flow also grew, up 13% year on year.

Consumer take-up in BT products increased four-fold and the business division recorded double-digit percentage revenue growth in IT services and hardware for the third year running.

In Northern Ireland, BT Business sales of fibre broadband, BT Infinity, more than trebled year on year. The company said fibre roll-out here is one of the most rapid in the world, and has now reached 89% coverage with over 750,000 premises passed.

BT Ireland's Wholesale division is now the number one wholesaler of fixed line services in Northern Ireland.

In addition to 120 new jobs created by BT Group in Belfast last week, BT Northern Ireland will take on 21 new sales agents this week to help cater for the company's residential and business customers.

BT Ireland will also recruit a further 10 network apprentices in September this year, which is in addition to the 44 engineers recruited to install superfast fibre broadband in the last 12 months.

Mr O'Neill added that despite research appearing to show that more people are abandoning landlines in favour of mobile phones, BT had seen a rise in the number of householders ordering fixed exchange lines, mainly to accommodate broadband provision.

£757m

BT Ireland's revenue for 12 months to March 31, up 1% year on year, with 9% increase in profits

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