Britain's BT has reported second-quarter earnings slightly ahead of forecasts, helped by strong demand for fibre broadband from both its customers and those rivals selling it on a wholesale basis.
BT's financial performance has been boosted by moves into superfast fibre broadband and a sports TV service, helping the group to grow consumer revenue and core earnings despite pressures on the top line of the business.
Results showed that competition in the broadband market was increasing however, with BT taking 48% of net new customers to the British market, down from previous levels, as rival BSkyB stepped up its promotional activity.
"Our Consumer business continues to perform well thanks to the impact of BT Sport where Premier League audiences are up around 45% on average," Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said.
"Fibre is also driving growth with one in three of our retail broadband customers enjoying super-fast speeds."
An ongoing programme of cost cuts and an easing of investment levels in its sports service helped the former state telecoms monopoly to report core earnings up 1% and pretax profit up 13% on an adjusted basis, both slightly ahead of forecasts.
That was off a 2% fall in revenue to £4.4bn, in line with forecasts.
The strong trading performance, with revenue growth in the BT consumer division of 7%, enabled the group to reiterate its outlook and lift its interim dividend by 15%, at the top end of its guidance range.