We're responsible for providing services over the local access network (sometimes called 'the last mile'), and installing and maintaining the fibre and copper communications networks that connect homes and businesses.
We're the UK's digital network business - connecting homes and businesses large and small. We want to build the best possible network with the highest quality service, and make sure everyone in the UK is connected.
Openreach provides the vital infrastructure that is the foundation of the UK’s vibrant internet economy.
We’re responsible for providing services over the local access network, sometimes referred to as ‘the last mile’. This consists of the copper and fibre connections between our exchanges to homes and businesses. More than 665 service providers use our network to deliver services ranging from telephony, broadband and television for the home, to high-speed data connections for businesses of all sizes.
We’ve invested billions of pounds over the last decade in our network, allowing us to deliver one of the fastest fibre rollouts in the world. As of 30 September 2020 we've made superfast fibre broadband of over 30Mbps available to 28.6 million premises with 15.7 million customers connected to our network via multiple service providers. More than ninety-six per cent of the UK now has access to superfast broadband across all networks.
We’re now working to take the UK from a Superfast to an Ultrafast nation, with plans to make Ultrafast speeds available using Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Gfast technologies.
We're extending our FTTP footprint to 4.5m premises by March 2021. But we want to go a lot further - we're aiming to reach 20 million premises by the mid to late 2020s and ultimately the majority of the UK, if we can get the right conditions in place.
How we’re doing
Revenue growth for the half year was driven by higher rental bases in fibre, up 18% and Ethernet, up 9%. This was partially offset by decline in legacy copper products. The first quarter in particular was impacted by Covid-19 driving lower provision and upgrade activity, partly offset by lower churn. EBITDA grew 3% year on year with revenue growth partially offset by higher operating costs. The increase in operating costs was primarily driven by investment in people to deliver better service, partially offset by ongoing efficiency programmes and reductions in discretionary spend. Depreciation and amortisation was broadly flat. Operating profit grew by 7% to £621m. Capital expenditure was up 6% due to investments in the network, predominantly fibre enabled infrastructure, partially offset by efficiency savings. Normalised free cash flow was down 90% driven by higher capital expenditure and timing of working capital.
Delivering a standout service for Openreach’s customers was a challenge in the first half of the year, impacted by Covid-19, bad weather and increased home working. Despite this Openreach delivered record levels of engineering work in support of a nation working from home during the pandemic. Openreach continues to build FTTP at pace with an average of 40k premises passed per week in the second quarter. To support accelerating build we have concluded one of the biggest tender processes in Openreach’s history, with nine engineering partners contracted in the quarter to support our build. These tenders are key to the commitment to build to 20m premises by the mid-to-late 2020s, subject to enablers.
Mike was appointed appointed as Openreach chairman in November 2016. Prior to this Mike spent eight years on the board of Ofcom, from 2007 to 2015. He’s previously been chairman of several other public and private companies, and is also carrying out the role for Together Financial Services Ltd, IGas Energy plc and Arran Isle Ltd. He’s held various non-executive roles after spending most of his career at Cable and Wireless, Philips, Motorola and GE.Close
Clive was appointed CEO, Openreach in February 2016. He was formerly CEO, BT Technology, Service & Operations, CEO BT Innovate & Design and before that president, BT Global Services Portfolio & Service Design. He is an ‘invitee’ because the CEO of Openreach cannot be a member of the Executive Committee under the provisions of the Undertakings and Commitments.Close