Belfast Telegraph

BT confident of broadband roll-out in Northern Ireland

By Staff Reporter

BT has said it had a "solid" performance in the first quarter of the year in Northern Ireland.

The telecommunications giant said growth was driven by the signing of new contracts with companies and the public sector, as well as tight management of costs.

Colm O'Neill, managing director of BT major business and public sector in the UK and Ireland, said: "Our roll-out of fibre broadband networks continues across Northern Ireland as we push fibre technology deeper into rural areas in partnership with government."

He said that fibre broadband was now available to 93% of premises - but only 37% of users had made the switch.

The firm said that UK-wide revenues lifted 35% to £5.8bn in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2015, while adjusted pre-tax profits stepped up 16% to £802m over the period.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also rose 25% to £1.8bn in the three months to June 30.

However, BT said the results were impacted by its £12.5bn takeover of E in January.

Mr O'Neill also welcomed a report this week by regulator Ofcom, which called for restructuring within the BT group of its broadband network Openreach - but stopped short of recommending sale of the division.

"We welcome Ofcom's recognition this week that BT Northern Ireland Networks has delivered successfully for the people and businesses in Northern Ireland and that changing the current arrangements as part of the Digital Communications Review would be disproportionate. 

"We will continue to engage with Ofcom and stakeholders in the coming months."

BT shares were up more than 3% on the London market.

Belfast Telegraph

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