BT gives up search for Openreach joint-venture partner

BT has abandoned its plans to find a joint-venture partner for its next-generation broadband network rollout.

The company was looking for a partner in the expansion of Openreach, but BT has said that the cost of rollout out the new network had dropped significantly meaning that a partner is not necessary.

The operator said that the cost per home has fallen from £300-400 to £250-350.

BT had previously announced plans for Openreach to bring full fibre to 20 million UK homes by 2026 via a £3 billion joint-venture with a potential third-party. 

In a statement, BT CEO Phillip Jansen said: “We can afford to fund it ourselves. The cost of passing a home with full fibre has dropped 15%; that is a huge saving when you look at 19m more homes to reach our target. It is best for shareholders to have 100% control. We didn’t want to do anything to slow [Openreach] down or provide some complexity.”

The news comes at a time when Altice’s billionaire owner Patrick Drahi is reportedly considering a takeover bid for BT. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Drahi was the single largest shareholder with a 12.1% stake. The billionaire will be allowed to make a takeover move next month. 

Earlier this week, the operator announced that it had hit its cost savings target of £1 billion 18 months ahead of schedule.

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