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BT cutbacks hit roll-out of ultra-fast broadband

Efficiency drive: BT Openreach - led by Clive Selley (pictured) - said it would focus on completing infrastructure in areas where it has already started building

BT cuts affect superfast broadband rollout: Telecoms giant warns it needs to ‘tighten up’ investment plans

BT has denied slowing the rollout of superfast broadband to millions of homes after telling providers it must “tighten up” its investment plans.

Openreach, the telecommunications giant’s network division, will focus on completing infrastructure in areas where it has already started building and will postpone investment in new areas.

The company said it was still on track to reach 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026. But changes to the £12 billion program will do nothing to speed up rollout .

Openreach chief executive Clive Selley told the Financial Times: “Getting what you pay for is what it’s all about.”

BT recently revealed it was increasing its savings plans from £2.5bn to £3bn a year as it seeks to shake off the grip of inflation.

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Openreach has contacted suppliers to say it will “tighten the investment timetable”, meaning it will not commit capital for more than six months, according to a letter seen by the FT.

He said: “This will necessarily include an element of cancellation or suspension of employment which you have received and/or validated.

“Clearly there will be a financial impact for you when we implement these plans.”

Openreach said it was not immune to inflationary pressures and aimed to be as efficient as possible.

By April, it will focus on areas where it has already started building rather than new areas.

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A spokesperson for the telecommunications group said: “We plan to build super-fast, full-fiber broadband next year for more homes and businesses, not fewer, so we’re accelerating not slowing down.”

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