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BT revenue declines 9% despite strong broadband adoption

Plans to have fiber available to two-thirds of UK premises by spring 2014
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BT (NYSE: BT) on Thursday reported revenue of £4.4 billion ($7.23 billion), down 9 percent year-over-year.

However, it added that pre-tax profits rose 7 percent during the same period and ended at £608 million ($1.1 billion), "despite the economic conditions and regulatory impacts," Ian Livingston, BT's CEO, said in the earnings release.

Two of the bright spots in BT's portfolio continue to be fiber-based broadband and IPTV.

During the quarter, it added 21,000 new customers on its BT Vision IPTV service, ending the quarter with a total of 750,000 customers.

At the same time, BT continued to ramp up its Fiber to the X (FTTX) coverage via its Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) efforts.

"We now expect fibre to be available to two-thirds of UK premises during spring 2014, more than 18 months ahead of our original schedule, and we are recruiting more than 1,000 engineers in 2012 to help deliver this," Livingston said.

To date, BT said that it currently passes over 12 million premises with fiber with over 950,000 of them connected and growing. The telco added 81,000 retail broadband customers in the quarter, representing 47 percent of the broadband market net additions of 174,000. In addition, BT added 160,000 retail fiber broadband customers, bringing its total retail customer base to 875,000.

Throughout the quarter, BT made a number of moves to expand the presence of its fiber network, particularly FTTC.

In September, BT Openreach announced it would extend its FTTC service to an additional 163 telephone exchange areas in 2013. Then, in October, BT said it would hire an additional 250 engineers, particularly "Armed Forces leavers," or those about the leave the military for its fiber broadband workforce.

Looking towards 2013, BT said it expects underlying revenue excluding transit to improve in the second half of the year, but not for the whole year. It also expects to grow adjusted EBITDA and deliver normalized free cash flow broadly level with 2012.

BT was trading at $36.77, up $0.45, or 1.24 percent, on late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

For more:
- see the earnings
release

Special report: Wireline telecom earnings in the third quarter

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