BT cutbacks hit roll-out of ultra-fast broadband: Telecoms giant warns it needs to ‘tighten’ investment plans
BT denied it was slowing the roll-out of ultrafast broadband to millions of homes after it told suppliers it needed to ‘tighten’ investment plans.
Openreach, the telecoms giant’s network division, will focus on completing infrastructure in areas where it has already started building and postpone investment in new areas.
The company said it was still on track to reach 25m homes and businesses by the end of 2026. But the changes to the £12billion programme will do nothing to speed up the roll-out.
Efficiency drive: BT Openreach – led by Clive Selley (pictured) – said it will focus on completing infrastructure in areas where it has already started building
Openreach chief executive Clive Selley told the Financial Times: ‘Getting bang for our buck is what this is about.’
BT recently revealed it was ramping up its cost-saving plans from £2.5billion to £3billion a year as it seeks to shake off the grip of inflation.
Openreach has contacted suppliers to say it would ‘tighten the timing of investment’ meaning it will not commit capital more than six months out, according to a letter seen by the FT.
It said: ‘This will by necessity include an element of cancellation or suspension of a job you have received and/or validated.
‘It is clear that there will be a financial impact to you as we implement these plans.’
Openreach said it was not immune from inflationary pressures and was aiming to be as efficient as possible.
Between now and April it will focus on the areas where it has already started building rather than new areas.
A spokesman for the telecoms group said: ‘We expect to build ultrafast full fibre broadband to more homes and businesses next year, not fewer, so we’re speeding up not slowing down.’