BT says it is speeding up its rollout of full-fibre broadband to five million more households than previously planned in a move it says could create up to 7,000 jobs. Boss Philip Jansen told the BBC that BT is also bringing forward its deadline to complete the work, with 25 million homes now due to be connected by 2026.

“It’s a massive programme – a £15bn investment,” he said.

The telecoms giant has been criticised for the pace of full-fibre rollout. But BT said tax changes introduced on fibre broadband investment to homes and businesses allowed it to accelerate its strategy.

Mr Jansen added that the faster rollout could be done through a joint venture with other parties to share the work and investment. Accelerating the plans “will help fuel UK economic recovery, with better connectivity and up to 7,000 new jobs,” Mr Jansen said.

The news came as Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile provider reported a 23% fall in full-year pre-tax profit to £1.8bn, in large part due to a 7% fall in revenue to £21.3bn.

BT’s profit was also eaten into by a bonus for frontline staff, increased cost of services and the continuing investment in the fibre network

But Mr Jansen said he was confident about future trading: “After a number of years of tough work, and as we look to build back better from the pandemic, we’re now pivoting to consistent and predictable growth.”

And in a relief for shareholders, BT said it planned to bring back its dividend, which was suspended due to Covid, during the current financial year.

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