BT denies fibre broadband delay

Despite shareholder concerns that the 1.5 billion super-fast fibre broadband rollout might not be advisable given the economic climate, BT has denied any recession-caused delays.

BT's chief exec Ian Livingston told journalists late last week that some shareholders had suggested to him that the telecoms firm might want to hold onto that cash in the face of a looming recession.

Livingston agreed the project must guarantee a return on investment. "I personally believe if it is the right thing to do as a 20-year decision it is the right thing to do," he was quoted as saying in the Guardian newspaper. "But we need to have the environment in which our shareholders feel there is a good chance of us making a return. If we cannot have that environment this is not the time to be taking on sure-fire losses."

But a BT spokesman denied any plans to delay the project, which is set to be rolled out to 10 million people by 2012.

"Whilst we are committed to this investment it's not a very simple decision for a company to make and some shareholders have had different views," spokesman Mike Bartlett told IT PRO.

He stressed a recession would not delay the project. "It's not a reason to not be investing that sort of money."

Indeed, the spokesman added that the only delay currently foreseeable is whether Ofcom creates the right regulatory environment, which he noted was a complicated process which would take some time.