BT share price: Company announces plans for further fibre expansion in UK capital

on Oct 2, 2015
Updated: Jun 1, 2022

BT Group Plc (LON:BT.A)today announced plans to expand its fibre network in London to a further 360,000 homes and businesses in the next two years, in a move to take superfast broadband coverage in the UK capital beyond the current 95 percent. The expansion comes on top of the more than £150 million that have already been poured into London’s fibre network as part of BT’s nationwide investment programme.

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The company has faced criticism over its fibre coverage of the capital, with politicians and business leaders complaining that the availability of fast web access to support applications such as high-definition video has been patchy or too expensive. However, BT’s chief executive officer, Gavin Patterson, defended the company’s efforts to make high-speed broadband available to all Londoners.
“Independent data shows that 95 per cent of London premises can already access fibre broadband, but our aim is to go further,” Patterson said today, as quoted by The Evening Standard. “Even though the European Union places the UK top of its five largest countries for broadband, we have never been distracted from the need to go on doing more for those on the slowest speeds.”

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s culture and digital economy minister, welcomed BT’s announcement, calling it “fantastic news”. This “will help make sure that 95 per cent of the UK can access superfast speeds by 2017”, the minister added.
Earlier this week Vaizey said he was “a sceptic” about a separation of BT and Openreach, the unit that run the telco’s infrastructure. Rival companies, such as Sky Plc (LON:SKY) and TalkTalk have long called for a break-up, claiming that the UK broadband network would benefit if overseen by an independent company. According to Vaizey, however, such a move would be “an enormous undertaking, incredibly time consuming” and could easily backfire. He added that the current regime had proved “very effective”.
In today’s trading, BT shares were up 0.5 percent at 422.20p, as of 12:22 BST. The stock has risen 5.1 percent since the start of the year and the company’s market capitalisation currently stands at £34.7 billion.
The 19 analysts offering 12 month price targets for BT have a median target of 510.00p, with a high estimate of 600.00p and a low estimate of 240.00p. As of September 30, 2015, the consensus forecast amongst 24 polled investment analysts covering BT had it that the company will outperform the market. The same consensus estimate has been maintained since November 05, 2013, when the sentiment of investment analysts improved from “hold”.
As of 14:20 BST, Friday, 02 October, BT Group plc share price is 415.65p.
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