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Broadband helps lift BT

Pre-tax profit up

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The increasingly rapid uptake of broadband and other "new wave" technologies has helped BT increase pre-tax profit for Q3, the UK's dominant fixed line telco announced today.

Although total turnover for the three months to the end of December was down 2.6 per cent to £4.58 million, pre-tax profit for the quarter was up 1 per cent £526 million.

And while the telco's traditional business is still in decline, courtesy of increased competition and regulatory intervention, BT's "new wave" business continued to thrive.

New wave turnover - which includes revenues from Information and Communications Technology (ICT), broadband, mobile and managed services - jumped 31 per cent to £838 million, compared to a 25 per cent increase in the second quarter.

Broadband revenues increased 129 per cent to £128 million in the quarter as BT confirmed that as of February 6 it had 1.93 million wholesale ADSL connections - three times the number compared to this time last year.

The telco's customer-facing division, BT Retail, now has 796,000 customers using its frill-less BT Broadband product and its BT Yahoo! broadband services, although the monster telco declined to say how this was split.

In a statement, chief exec Ben Verwaayen said: "Our new wave revenues grew by 31 per cent in the quarter, our highest rate of growth yet. This has offset much of the impact of the 6 per cent decline in our traditional business.

"The momentum of this transformation is building with broadband volumes now approaching two million lines and we are now taking orders of over 45,000 per week."

Shares in BT were up 1.5p (0.85 per cent) at 178p by mid morning. ®

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