Openreach hands out £14m to compensate for broadband outages. Not to you, silly, to your ISP!

BT's digital network biz noticed it wasn't paying out enough

BT's Openreach is forking out £14m to refund internet service providers for network outages and faults.

BT announced the payment in results for the first quarter, ended 30 June, posting a 1 per cent fall in revenue to £5.63bn and profits down 1 per cent to £642m, compared with the same quarter last year.

It said: "Openreach have recently identified that they have been underpaying service level guarantee compensation for their Ethernet Backhaul Direct product since October 2016.

"Openreach have informed Ofcom and are informing those external communications providers who were affected. Openreach are in the process of refunding in full and estimate that the total due is around £14m, which has been fully provided for."

Better put pedal to the metal, Openreach

Meanwhile, the broadband division is now connecting fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) to 20,000 homes a week, up from just 5,000 a year ago. Some 257,000 homes were passed in the quarter.

Openreach reported an increase in revenue of 1 per cent to £1.7bn for the quarter.

It said a total of 3.7 million FTTP and G.fast (its fibre hybrid product) have been passed to date.

Philip Carse, analyst at Megabuyte, noted Openreach is deploying fibre to around a million premises per year.

"However, the pace is (as the company recognises) going to have to accelerate further if Openreach is to play its part in extending fibre to the circa 27 million UK premises," he said.

Philip Jansen, chief exec of BT, hinted that the government might be prepared to put more money towards boosting fibre investment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently pledged to bring full fibre to all homes by 2025, although this was, characteristically, light on the details.

Jansen said: "On network investment, we welcome the government's ambition for full fibre broadband across the country and we are confident we will see further steps to stimulate investment. We are ready to play our part to accelerate the pace of rollout, in a manner that will benefit both the country and our shareholders, and we are engaging with the government and Ofcom on this."

Elsewhere in BT's results, the company posted a fall in its Consumer business of 1 per cent to £2.55bn, while Enterprise dropped 5 per cent to £1.52bn and Global Services continued its downward trajectory, dropping 5 per cent to £1.09bn. ®

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