BT share price: Connecting 100% of UK to superfast broadband to require more funding
Bill Murphy, managing director for next generation access at BT Group Plc (LON:BT.A), has said that almost every rural household in the UK can be connected to superfast broadband, but for this to happen the company will have to be given greater government support.
BT is currently working on a government plan to provide 95 percent of the country with access to superfast broadband by 2017. Some £1.7 billion of state, council and EU cash has been committed to improving the UK’s broadband coverage by enticing the private sector to invest and carry out the engineering works. However, to achieve a near 100-percent national coverage, the company would need more funding, Murphy said in an interview with the Western Morning News. The executive said that the project was about “re-wiring the UK” and would lead to an “explosion” in people being able to “live where they want to live, and work where they want to work”.
Murphy was confident that the most pressing target of achieving 90 percent UK coverage by the end of 2015 will be met, and said that 95 percent by 2017 was “a challenge but we are certainly going for it”. He also indicated that 99-percent coverage could be achieved, with the last one percent provided by satellites from private firms.
Murphy noted that talks about a “satellite solution” for the most remote places underlined the ambition to connect every UK household to superfast broadband. However, he also warned that the project was a “very risky business”, where it could take up to 20 years for the firm involved in the scheme to get a return in their investment
In today’s trading, BT shares were up 0.4 percent at 444.60p, as of 13:20 BST. The stock has advanced 10.7 percent since the start of the year. The company’s market capitalisation currently stands at £37.2 billion.
As of 16:00 BST, Tuesday, 07 April, BT Group plc share price is 446.45p.