Fibre broadband drives further growth for BT

Colm O'Neill, British Telecom CEO for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Colm O'Neill, British Telecom CEO for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

BT Ireland has announced a four per cent hike in profits for its all-Ireland operations, fuelled by increased demand for fibre broadband, the provision of major contracts, and continued cost management.

Results for the year to March 31,this year show revenue increased by two per cent to £635 million excluding transit revenue and the impact of foreign exchange movements.

“We’ve delivered a solid year of growth in both revenue and profit across the island of Ireland, and continued to offer greater connectivity, choice and value to our customers,” said Colm O’Neill, CEO for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“Examples include our on-going investment in infrastructure to provide more access to next generation fibre broadband; enhancing our consumer portfolio, particularly in TV and Sport; and adding new capabilities in cloud services and 4G mobility for the SME and enterprise markets.”

In addition, he said the business had continued to invest in skills and talent creating almost 80 new jobs in Belfast in recent months.

That brings the firm’s total employee numbers in Northern Ireland to more than 2,400.

The expansion of BT’s open access fibre network continued throughout the year with the deployment of the Northern Ireland Broadband Improvement Project, a £23.5 million collaborative investment by BT and the Northern Ireland government.

Across NI and in some of its most remote and rural areas, this fibre-based next generation network is changing the way citizens work, rest and play with over 205,000 homes and businesses now availing of the service.

Across the wider BT Consumer line of business there was strong growth in the consumer broadband and TV customer bases, with BT Sport contributing to top and bottom line growth. BT Sport TV channels are now in more than 5.2 million homes, with the customer base growing again in the quarter. New rights secured include the FA Premier League football rights for a further three years and an extension with Aviva Premiership Rugby for four more years. This summer will see customers enjoy exclusive live football from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League and even more top sporting action.

In the business sector BT continued to win in the market securing new contracts with customers such as NI Direct, which sees BT deliver contact centre services for the public sector and drive digital transformation in the provision of government services in Northern Ireland.

The company also expanded its range of products and services for the SME market, including the introduction of 4G for mobile and the launch of BT Cloud Voice, a cloud based phone system that enables businesses to integrate mobile and office phones on a single number, keeping them connected at all times. In February BT announced the proposed acquisition of EE, a combination it believes will provide current and future customers with innovative, seamless services that combine the power of fibre broadband with wi-fi and advanced mobile capabilities.