TalkTalk posts 3% sales drop, says Openreach should walk the WalkWalk

Will 'engage practically' with former BT arm

Roadworks: fibre optic cable being laid

TalkTalk's sales dropped by 3 per cent in its first quarter, with an extra 20,000 new customers failing to offset the drop.

The Brit broadband provider blamed the dip in revenue on a fall in overall consumer sales. No figure was provided for the three months to the end of June.

However, full-year guidance remained unchanged, with earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation expected to be somewhere between £270m and £300m.

“These effects are expected to moderate as the base grows, and we drive fibre take up and other products such as TV. As a result we continue to expect full year revenues to grow."

In May, Charles Dunstone returned to the company after Dido Harding stepped down after seven years in charge.

Asked in the conference call about Openreach's fibre consultation plans, in which it hopes to collaborate with industry to reach 10 million full-fibre connections by 2025, Dunstone said he remains sceptical.

"We will see and we will engage practically with them in terms of the FTTP consultation and see where that leads.

"I think one day they are going to have to face up to the fact that you are going to have to invest in the future for revenue that is going to come in the future, and that the past is not always going to pay for the future," he said.

Dunstone also hit out at Openreach's intention to deliver the government's plans for 10Mbps universal service obligation by 2020.

"Yet again, it was a bit of an echo of the past: where they said we will only spend the money [on broadband investment] if you give us regulatory relief. And my sense is that everyone is a bit tired of that and they have played that game too many times. ®

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