Profits at BT given a boost by broadband

Steve Dinneen
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BT LAST night raised its full-year forecasts after bumper broadband sales boosted its profits.

During the second quarter over 250,000 new broadband customers were added to its network, including rival firms renting BT lines.

Virgin added 35,000 new broadband customers during the same period.

BT’s new superfast broadband service “Infinity” is rising at a level of around 4,000 a week after failing to make a splash since its launch in January. It now has around 38,000 users.

The telecoms giant raised its full-year earnings guidance from £5.6bn to £5.8bn after pre tax profits rose 43 per cent to £781m. Adjusted pre tax profits were up 13 per cent at £496m.

However, BT failed to arrest its declining revenues, with sales in the period falling three per cent to £4.98bn.

It disappointed investors by raising its dividend by a relatively modest four per cent, below most analyst expectations.

Chief executive Ian Livingston was bullish yesterday, claiming the firm has created a strong base for future growth.

He even had a pop at rival Virgin over its ad campaign, which features a Ferrari representing its superfast connection speeds. Livingston said: “Virgin’s product is a bit like a Ferrari – it’s very expensive and not many people buy it.”