October 19, 2016 / 11:45 AM / a year ago

BT sees strong case for network investment if it stays intact

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - BT said there was a “strong case” for the group to invest more in fibre-optic broadband networks, but the numbers would not add up if it was forced to spin off its Openreach networks division.

Chief Executive Gavin Patterson also warned that splitting up BT - which is an option that the government says remains on the table - would require a long, difficult and costly separation of the group’s pension liabilities.

Patterson said investment in Openreach, which is used by rivals like Sky and TalkTalk as well as BT’s retail customers, had increased 30 percent in the last two years, providing a service that balanced speed, price and coverage.

“The case for more investment is quite strong,” he said at the Broadband World Forum.

“There is going to be no shortage of opportunities to invest, the challenge for us as a company is to make sure the investment cycles are reasonable and we are able to make a return from them.” (Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by James Davey)

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