Looking to stem losses at the UK incumbent, BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson last Thursday unveiled a new strategy that includes increased spending on fiber to the premises (FTTP) and mobile infrastructure. The plan also promises a reshaping of the company's operational model, including relocating from its current headquarters and trimming approximately 13,000 positions from what the company termed "mainly back office and middle management roles." BT plans to partially offset the headcount reduction by the hiring about 6,000 new employees to support network deployment and customer service.
The infrastructure investments will aim to create an all-IP fiber network that will support integrated fixed, WiFi, and mobile services support. The increases in spend on FTTP and mobile will come despite Patterson's assertion that BT's capex will hold steady at around £3.7 billion over the next two years. The increased emphasis on the two technologies, part of which will see access network business unit Openreach adopt what BT termed a "Fibre First" approach, will result in 10 million FTTP connections by the mid-2020s "if conditions are right" and 95% UK coverage with 4G over the same timeframe. The company says 3 million premises will be connected via an all-fiber infrastructure by 2020.
Meanwhile, BT expects the staff reductions to save £1.5 billion over three years, with the £800 million in associated charges repaid within two years. The company expects to save even more money by operating more efficiently.
The plans to improve FTTP connectivity comes as the UK remains among the European nations that have not yet cracked the FTTH Council Europe's FTTH/B leaders list (see "European FTTH/FTTB subscriber numbers jump 20.4%: IDATE"). The list contains countries with at least 1% of its citizens served via all-fiber connections.
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