BT sees profits fall by 28% but pledges to fill pensions hole

BT has revealed that its pre-tax profits for the first nine months of the financial year were down by 28% to £756m.

The results come as the company announced it has agreed to pay off a £9bn deficit in its pension scheme over the next 17 years. The brand had faced a customer exodus and brand damage if it raised Openreach charges to plug the pensions hole.

BT says it is generating enough cash to pay off the pension deficit, as well as pay dividends, reduce debt and invest in its business. But the pension regulator says it has “substantial concerns” about the plan.

BT recently announced it will offer its rivals access to its high-speed broadband network for a nominal fee.

Speaking at the launch of Virgin Media Business yesterday, Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson would not rule out taking advantage of its rival’s tunnels to improve its service.

BT is spending £1.5bn on an optical fibre network that will increase download speeds 10-fold, in time for the 2012 Olympic games of which it is an official sponsor

Last week, BT announced it would be the official communications partner for the England 2018 bid, offering advice and support.

BT already offers rival telecoms services access to its phone lines, on the basis that customers still pay line rental to the company.

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