BT racks up 650k BB punters

Pre-tax profit jumps

BT notched up record sales of broadband in January helping to push the number of ADSL customers to more than 650,000.

In the first five weeks of the year total broadband sales grew by 25,000 a week, with 7,500 a week signing up to the telco's no-frills access-only BT Broadband product.

Keen to press ahead, the UK's dominant telco wants to increase the take-up of broadband by continuing to plug the product, as well as working with its increasing number of partners.

Only yesterday, for example, it announced a joint agreement with Internet giant Yahoo! to market each other's services.

BT Openworld - which is no longer BT's standalone ISP but falls within the managerial responsibility of BT's core group - continues to make a loss.

For the three months to the end of December it made an operating loss of £8m, an improvement on the £23m loss it made during the same period a year before.

Turnover for Q3 grew 27 per cent year-on-year from £59m to £75m.

However, some good news. While BT Openworld as a whole continues to leak cash, the narrowband side of its operation is now profitable.

Elsewhere, BT posted an encouraging increase in pre-tax profit during Q3 even though turnover remained essentially flat.

Group turnover rose one per cent to £4.7bn in Q£ while pre-tax profit jumped 37 per cent to £521m compared to the corresponding period a year ago.

The improvement comes as the monster telco reported that its core business has performed well in what remains a "difficult market".

In a statement chief exec Ben Verwaayen, said: "Revenue growth has been challenging, but we gained real momentum in the corporate sector, winning a number of major new contracts and our solutions business achieved record sales orders in the quarter." ®

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