April 2, 2014
BT have been left in a monopoly position over the rollout of rural broadband across the country that has been part funded by £1.2 billion of public funds according to a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme was set up by the government to help fund the rollout of fibre optic broadband to rural areas where it was not financially viable for BT, Virgin Media or other providers to roll out to with just their own money. The £1.2 billion BDUK pot of money to help with the roll out to these rural areas has in effect just been sent in the direction of BT as they are the only provider to have won any contracts.
The report by PAC initially raised concerns over the way the contracts were being awarded back in 2013, at this point 26 contracts for BDUK schemes had been awarded to BT, since then the other 18 contracts that have been put out to tender have also gone in the direction of BT too. Initially there were nine suppliers who were looking to bid for the BDUK funds but most of these dropped out and left the only real remaining one as Fujitsu, however they themselves had pretty much given up too which left BT to clear up all the contracts.
Another issue is the secrecy surrounding the contracts, BT stipulated that there was non-discloser agreements in place so councils could not talk to each other to see if they were receiving a good deal or not, this then makes it likely that more tax payers money will have gone to BT than perhaps needed to if there had been more openness surrounding existing contracts in place.
The other issue raised by PAC was that the broadband maps lacked detail which made it hard for other organisations to see where exactly BT would be rolling their fibre network out to and this hindered other schemes coming in to potentially fill in the gaps or offer faster speeds. They have said that the government needs to work with local organisations to make these broadband maps able to be searched down to post codes to help make it clearer where exactly will and won’t be covered.
March 18, 2014
BT has agreed a 2 week advertising deal with the company that owns the Daily Star, Daily Express & Channel 5 and will see their readers be offered 6 months free BT Broadband.
Richard Desmond’s “Northern & Shell” company own the Daily Express, Daily Star and Channel 5 and it is in these that BT will be featuring with their offers for the next 2 weeks.
We are likely to see ads, pull-outs and sponsored content in both the papers and on Channel 5. Yesterday saw the launch of the campaign on Channel 5 and a 4 page advertising feature of the free broadband offer in the Daily Express along with a front page advert on the front of the Daily Express & Daily Star.
The special BT Broadband offer will entitle readers to “BT Totally Unlimited” free for 6 months and then £16 per month thereafter on an 18 month contract. Readers of the papers will have an 0800 number to call to register for the offer or they can do so via the BT.com website where they are able to enter an exclusive reader offer code to claim the special 6 months free BT broadband deal.
As for all BT Broadband customers, they will also be able to receive BT Sport for free, this means that they can then watch plenty of live Premier League football along with many other sporting events exclusive on BT Sport.
With Channel 5 due to be sold in May, this deal from BT could have a couple of alternative motives for Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell company. It may be that BT could be looking at maybe purchasing the TV channel and that BT are the preferred bidder or it could be a clever ploy to help put up a bidding war for the TV channel between BT & BSkyB as these are the 2 most likely suitors who are reportedly after it.
February 7, 2014
BT Broadband are bringing back their popular high value Sainsbury’s gift cards for new BT Broadband customers starting from today.
The offer is only eligible to new BT Broadband customers and does not include any existing customers who are re-grading from copper to copper or copper to fibre.
The existing offer of a £25 Sainsbury’s gift card for new BT Broadband customers is to be doubled to £50 and the current £50 Sainsbury’s gift card for new BT Infinity (fibre optic broadband) customers is also to double to £100.
The offer is to run from today 7th February until Monday 17th February.
Also not to be forgotten is that BT Broadband customers also receive the BT Sports channels on TV for free.
January 31, 2014
BT has reported an increase in profits and sales for the last quarter of 2013.
BT reported pre-tax profits of £617m on revenues of £4.6bn for the last 3 months of 2013, this is a rise of 2% on turnover and is the first time they have had a rise since the first quarter of 2009 and also marks a substantial 6% rise in the pre-tax profits.
Much of BT’s growth has come because of the strategic investment in live sports of their BT Sports TV channel to compete against BSkyB. They now have 2.5 million customers using their TV service, many of which are BT Infinity broadband customers who get to receive free access to the BT Sports channels. BT has got a broadband customer base of 7.1 million customers with 1.9 million of those taking out a fibre optic broadband connection with BT.
In the 3rd quarter of 2013 BT Openreach took on 339,000 new superfast broadband customers (not all BT as BT Openreach is the division of BT that deals with rolling out their network), this was up 38% on a year previous. On a net basis, BT added 150,000 standard and superfast broadband customers which equated to 60% growth in the overall market.
BT have invested very heavily in the rights to live sports, with football being the main area they have put most of their money, they have spent £738m per season for 3 years for the rights to exclusively show 38 live Premier League games, they have also spent a further £900m for the exclusive rights to show Champions League and Europa League games for 3 years from 2015 too.
To view a full breakdown of BT’s Third Quarter results visit btplc.com.
November 11, 2013
BT are expected to entice more customers to signing up for its BT Fibre broadband now they have won the exclusive rights to the Champions League for 3 years from 2015 at a cost of nearly £900 million.
The deal with UEFA means that BT will be able to broadcast all 350 fixtures each season for 3 years from 2015 which includes all the Champions League and Europa League games and puts an end to Sky & ITV being able to show the games. ITV have been the free-to-air broadcaster of the Champions League since 1992 however they were not willing to pay what they considered to be “over the odds” in the latest live rounds rights.
This won’t be the end of free European football on TV though as part of the £299 million per year deal was that BT are to show at least one match of each British football team competing in the European competitions for free each season although this does leave the majority still needing a subscription of some description to watch the others.
Currently BT allow BT Broadband customers receive and watch BT Sport channels for free but have stated that most Champions League games will incur an extra charge. Already BT has spent £738 million on the rights to screen 38 live Premier League games per season for 3 years as they go head to head with Sky. BT are using the incentive of live sports on their own channels to bring new customers to use their broadband services, and as BT have much deeper pockets than others who have tried to take on Sky in the past they are proving so far that they are able to match the financial muscle of Sky and even now start to beat them making Sky much less exclusive as the only place to get live sports.
For those who don’t have BT Broadband services they are still able to receive the BT Sport channels by paying a subscription for them, however BT’s main target aim will be for customers to make out multi-play services such as Broadband, Telephone and TV packages with them as they aim to recoup their huge investment both in fibre optic broadband and also in the launch of the Sports channels.
October 29, 2013
New customers and upgrading customers who sign up for BT Broadband (www.bt.com/broadband) online can for 1 week take advantage of an online exclusive offer of up to free £100 Sainsburys gift card!
To claim the free Sainsburys discount card users must sign up for BT Broadband online, those who take out standard Broadband will be entitled to a free £50 Sainsburys gift card, and those who take out a BT Infinity package will be able to get hold of a free £100 Sainsburys gift card. The deal is very time limited and last for just 1 week and ends on the 4th November 2013.
There are a range of packages available from BT, the cheapest is the Broadband only package which costs £10 per month plus £15.45 monthly line rental, this gives the user up to 16Mb broadband speeds and 10Gb usage plus inclusive weekend calls.
The cheapest Fibre Optic broadband deal is the BT Infinity 1 deal which will give new customers the £100 Sainsburys gift card along with up to 38Mb broadband speeds and 40Gb usage for just £15 per month plus monthly line rental at £15.45 (or it works out at £11.75 if you pay a years line rental upfront).
Existing BT Broadband customers who are upgrading from a standard BT Broadband package to a BT Infinity package will be entitled to receive a free £50 gift card from Sainsburys.
The Sainsburys gift card should be sent to you within 45 days of your broadband installation.
The BT Broadband offer is available online only, sign up by the 4th November 2013 at www.bt.com/broadband
August 1, 2013
BT’s head to head battle with BSkyB starts properly tonight as the new BT Sport channel goes live tonight for the first time at 6pm.
BT (www.bt.com) have put much time and money into their BT Sport channels, first off they secured the rights to 38 Premier League football games per season for 3 seasons of which they will get first choice for around half of their games, next up they then decided that BT Broadband customers would get free access to the BT Sport channels, this resulted with Sky then offering free Sky Broadband to their customers who have Sky TV contracts.
BT has much deeper pockets than other sports channels who have tried to compete with BSkyB for sports coverage in the past such as Setanta and ESPN. BT’s dive into the Sport sector is initially probably less to do with wanting to take over the paid TV market that Sky have most coverage of but to instead help reduce the churn of BT Broadband customers from leaving them for rivals and to entice other broadband customers to join them. Triple-play services such as Telephone, Broadband & TV are what both BT & Sky want from their customers to sign up for so they can take more money from them for having more services but they have to offer deals and enticing offers to make these worthwhile for customers.
BT Sport have not only splashed the cash on getting the live football games but also in building a good team to represent the channels, they got Jake Humphrey from the BBC F1 team to be the main host and they have signed Robin Van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Bale as some of the faces to help advertise the channel. Sky have recently launched a new advert with David Beckham to advertise their Sports channels which shows him at home and on the move in studios and a cafe and being able to watch Sky Sports on the go wherever he is.
July 25, 2013
BT Sport has half a million subscribers already, and that is before the TV Channel has even launched according to BT’s latest quarterly figures.
BT has put a huge push on the BT Sport channel, first they secured themselves 38 Premier League games per season at a cost of around £1 billion and second they then announced that the BT Sport channel with the Premier League football games would be free to BT Broadband customers.
BT’s paid TV subscriber base grew by just 23,000 though, this was down on the previous 3 months when they added 40,000 new paying customers. However, with the summer being here and the new BT Sport channel not live yet and the Premier League season not due to start until mid August they are still relatively pleased with their results and will be expecting many more paid TV subscribers to join them when these become available.
BT are in fierce competition with Sky and this is why they took the decision to offer the free BT Sports channels to BT Broadband customers.
BT’s chief executive, Ian Livingston, said:
“It is early days but we are very pleased with the strong start in BT Sport. More than half a million households have now ordered BT Sport and that’s before the channels have even launched.
Fibre remains at the heart of our plans and take-up is strong. Our fibre network now passes more than 16 million premises with more than 1.7 million connected.”
The offer of the free BT Sport channel to BT Broadband customers could well be proving very enticing, as during the last quarter there were 189,000 new broadband lines on the BT Openreach network, of these BT Broadband accounted for around half which is a huge leap from the previous year where they only accounted for around 20%.
May 10, 2013
BT Broadband are offering free access to it’s BT Sport channels for BT Brpadband customers which includes 38 Premier League matches per season for the next 3 years.
BT are not trying to compete with Sky in terms of television as Sky have a huge advantage and a very strong hold on televised sports channels but rather than trying to gain BT Sport channel subscribers (which users can do for £15 per month) they will be looking to keep their existing broadband customer base and hopefully actually increase it with the added bonus of the “free” sports channels being made available to their broadband customers. BT Broadband currently have around 6.3 million broadband subscribers out of the 20 million homes with internet in the UK which Sky are closing that gap with 4.4 million broadband customers.
BT Broadband is available for just £10 per month for it’s cheapest broadband package plus £15.45 for line rental and this will give BT Broadband customers free access to watch the BT Spoirts channels via the internet so users can only watch via their computer or Tablet or they can connect these to a TV screen if they wish to watch them on the TV for free. The other option is a £5 per month subscription to buy BT Vision which allows the BT Sports channels, plus 70+ other TV channels, to be watched via their TV service, this however also carries a £49 activation charge.
BT paid £738 million for the 38 matches a year for 3 years which Sky had to pay £2.3 billion for the 116 games that it will get per year over the same 3 year period.
The 3 sports channels available will be BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN. Of the 38 live and exclusive Premier League games that BT have, 18 of these will be “first pick” matches, along with that BT are the sole and exclusive broadcaster of the Aviva Premiership Rugby where they can get up to 69 matches. Football form other leagues around Europe and the world will also be available such as Germany, France, Italy and Brazil.
BT are going head first into it’s BT Sports channel, they have already taken Jake Humphrey from the BBC F1 team to head their Football programme and they have also got Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand as an interviewer and football expert on board. Premier League Champion, Robin Van Persie and Gareth Bale are also being used as faces for the new sports channel.
February 4, 2013
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BT broadband is to go properly unlimited as they have removed all fair use policies and data restrictions associated with their BT broadband packages (other than their entry level packages).
This means that BT Broadband users can now get fully unlimited broadband via the copper network for just £16 per month or via BT Infinity fibre network for £23 per month with speeds up to 38Mb or £26 per month for those who want the 76Mb broadband speeds.
Not only are BT making these packages unlimited but they have also announced the launch of BT Cloud which is a new online stage service offered by BT that gives all consumer broadband customers 2GB of online storage. The top tier fibre broadband (Unlimited BT Infinity 2) package and the top copper based broadband package (Unlimited Broadband Extra) will both receive 50GB of free Cloud storage.
BT has moved to totally unlimited broadband for most of it’s packages due to requests from customers, due to customers now wanting to watch catch-up TV and stream films that will use up lots of bandwidth they didn’t want to get stung or have their broadband slowed by going over their limits. As more and more data will be is needed because people are using on-demand services through BT Vision and Sky-Go as examples the need for not worrying about going over any limits is very important. Going forward there is only going to be more and more demand along these lines too as more people choose to watch media this way.
The managing director of BT’s Consumer division, John Petter, said:
“We believe we have boosted our broadband offering by moving our best broadband deals to totally unlimited. Customers told us that they wanted to be able to enjoy catch-up TV, streamed films and other bandwidth-eating applications without having to worry about going over their limit or being slowed down by their ISP.
But we wanted to make that really affordable too, without the sort of traffic management Virgin Media, TalkTalk or EE customers may find themselves subject to. Unlike Sky, we’re extremely confident that our network can stand up to the extra bandwidth demands from totally unlimited products everywhere across the UK.“