Friday, February 01 10:30:46
BT Ireland revenue increased by 5pc in the nine months to the end of December last, excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, with growth across all areas of the business, the group said today.
BT Ireland is an all island operation but does not break out details of its Irish operations in its UK-based financial statements.
However, it said that half of its retail broadband customers in Northern Ireland are now taking fibre which is helping to drive revenue growth.
"In the quarter, we were selected as the NI Direct strategic partner to develop and improve access to Northern Ireland government services. "
Looking at its group-wide results, strong demand for broadband and tight cost control helped it to offset the combined pressures of regulation and recession to post a better-than-expected 7pc rise in third-quarter pre-tax profit.
In a continuation of the strategy that has sent shares in the group to a near five-year high, BT said it had recorded profits in the three months to December 31 comfortably ahead of forecasts, off revenues that were down by 6pc.
The news sent shares in the group up 4.6pc, topping the FTSE 100 leader board and giving the group a market value of 20.5 billion pounds.
The group was boosted by demand for broadband, both at the retail level directly to customers and in wholesaling the service to rivals, as an increase in the number of engineers it employs helped the group to rebound from the previous quarter which was hit by rain.
The group said it had now become the biggest fibre broadband network in Britain, overtaking Virgin Media, after it passed 13 million homes with the technology.
More than a million of its customers are now using fibre and the group hopes that the imminent launch of its BT Vision sports channels with Premier League soccer and rugby will encourage others to upgrade to the faster and more expensive product.