Shareholders advise firm to maintain its cash reserves

Recession may delay BT fibre-optic network

BT’s CEO Ian Livingstone has confirmed that a number of company shareholders have advised him to abandon a £1.5 billion plan to bring fibre-optic broadband to ten million UK households.

The move from copper wiring to fibre-optic cables would increase broadband speeds to up to 40 megabits per second – over twice BT’s current maximum connection speeds.

“I have to tell you there are some shareholders who say ‘you know something, don’t do that, don’t do a whole lot of other things. That leaves you with a lot more cash and cash today is worth a lot more than cash in a few years’ time’,” Livingstone told the Guardian.

“I personally believe if it is the right thing to do as a 20-year decision it is the right thing to do,” he continued. “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.”

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