BTGOF - BT Group plc

Other OTC - Other OTC Delayed price. Currency in USD
-0.0450 (-1.80%)
At close: 3:49PM EST
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Previous close2.4950
Bid0.0000 x 0
Ask0.0000 x 0
Day's range2.4300 - 2.4900
52-week range1.5400 - 3.9600
Avg. volume233,765
Market cap24B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.61
PE ratio (TTM)8.17
Earnings dateN/A
Forward dividend & yield0.19 (7.69%)
Ex-dividend date2019-12-24
1y target estN/A
  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 2-Dixons Carphone 1H profit plunges, maintains forecast as mobile turnaround on track

    British electricals retailer Dixons Carphone stuck to its forecast for annual profit and said a plan to cope with the challenging mobile phone market was working, but it wasn't counting on any post-election boost. It reported a drop in first-half profit of 60 percent, though it maintained its financial guidance for its full 2019-20 year. UK voters headed to the polls on Thursday in an election that could break the impasse over Britain's exit from the European Union, but Dixons Carphone chief executive Alex Baldock said that political clarity wouldn't necessarily help consumer confidence.

  • BT looks for new broadband equipment supplier for Openreach's full-fibre rollout

    BT looks for new broadband equipment supplier for Openreach's full-fibre rollout

    BT's fixed-line network arm Openreach has started an evaluation process seeking a third strategic vendor alongside telecoms gear makers Nokia Oyj and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] for the rollout, Richard Knowles, an Openreach spokesman, told Reuters. The development comes as the United States has been pressing nations not to grant Huawei access to 5G networks and alleged that Huawei's equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, which the Chinese company has repeatedly denied.

  • Reuters

    BT looks for new broadband equipment supplier for Openreach's full-fiber rollout

    BT's fixed-line network arm Openreach has started an evaluation process seeking a third strategic vendor alongside telecoms gear makers Nokia Oyj and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for the rollout, Richard Knowles, an Openreach spokesman, told Reuters. The development comes as the United States has been pressing nations not to grant Huawei access to 5G networks and alleged that Huawei's equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, which the Chinese company has repeatedly denied.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    LIVE MARKETS-On the radar: Thyssenkrup, LVMH and PSA/FCA

    Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Julien Ponthus. The Energy sector is also expected to be under pressure with oil prices retreating due to the trade tensions. While we wait to see if there will be any surprise in the list of companies Labour will seek to nationalise should it win the Dec 12 election, Royal Mail and Severn Trent, already targeted, both published trading updates.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    LIVE MARKETS-Bring on the "Labour nationalisation hit list"!

    Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Julien Ponthus. BRING ON THE "LABOUR NATIONALISATION HIT LIST"! Labour will unveil its manifesto this morning at 11h00 GMT in Birmingham.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 1-BT will maintain ties with skills group if it drops Prince Andrew as patron

    Britain's BT has told a company promoting digital skills it would continue working with it if it dropped Prince Andrew as a patron. The British royal has been engulfed in a growing scandal since he gave a TV interview on Saturday to discuss his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in a U.S. prison in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Andrew denied an allegation that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured for him by Epstein but said he did not regret the friendship.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Corbyn effect? British utility debt boosted by nationalisation bet

    British utilities are becoming increasingly popular with bond investors who believe their debt may benefit if a Labour government comes to power in December's general election and takes them into public ownership. Labour's finance spokesman John McDonnell last week detailed the party's plans to nationalise parts of BT to provide free broadband for all if it wins the election. Most opinion polls show the ruling Conservative Party with a clear lead ahead of the Dec. 12 poll, suggesting a left-wing government under Jeremy Corbyn is unlikely.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 3-UK's Johnson drops corporate tax cut plan in bid to woo voters

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he was putting on hold further cuts in corporation tax and told voters he would use the money for spending on health and other priorities. "We are postponing further cuts in corporation tax," Johnson told business leaders at a conference organised by the Confederation of British Industry, an employers' group. Britain's main corporation tax is among the lowest among the world's industrialised economies but the government had been due to cut it to 17% next year from 19% now.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Danger on both left and right, warns UK business group CBI

    There is a threat to British business from both the left and the right of politics, the country's biggest business lobby group the CBI warned on Monday, a month before voters head to the polls to elect a new government.

  • Corbyn Energizes Labour, Scares Markets With Free Broadband Plan

    Corbyn Energizes Labour, Scares Markets With Free Broadband Plan

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Jeremy Corbyn has been trying to shift his Labour Party’s election campaign off the thorny issue of Brexit and onto his radical plans to shake up the U.K. economy. He finally achieved it on Friday, drowning out Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own media blitz in the process.The promise to provide universal free fiber broadband by nationalizing BT Group Plc’s Openreach unit dominated broadcasts and sent telecommunications shares plunging. It’s a continuation of Labour’s plan to take control of key utilities, with taxes from large multinational companies -- in this case the likes of Inc. and Facebook Inc. -- helping to foot the bill.“This is core infrastructure for the 21st century,” Corbyn said at a campaign event in Lancaster. “It’s too important to be left to the corporations.”It is the biggest new pledge of the campaign so far from Labour, with Corbyn comparing his proposed new British Broadband company to the establishment of the U.K.’s revered National Health Service. It also overshadowed Johnson’s own events, which included the launch of his campaign bus, a pledge to reopen railway lines closed since the 1960s and two interviews with the BBC.Johnson denounced Labour’s broadband plan as a “crazed communist scheme,” but the danger for the prime minister is that the proposal will cut through with the voters. Lack of broadband coverage, particularly in rural areas, is a popular complaint and the U.K. lags far behind economic rivals including South Korea, Japan and Spain.The ruling Conservative Party’s own plan is to incentivize private companies to extend their networks -- a revamp of a government program that has been criticized for failing to reach communities across the country.Battle Lines Are Drawn in Boris Johnson’s Big Election GambleLabour’s plan sent shock-waves through financial markets, especially after the party’s economy spokesman, John McDonnell, acknowledged it might need the broadband assets of other providers -- including Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media -- to make it work.“We’ll come to an agreement with them, and it will either be via an agreement on access arrangements, or working alongside us, or if necessary, yes, they can then come within the ambit of British Broadband itself,” McDonnell told the BBC on Friday. If no agreement could be reached, the government would pay compensation subject to “commercial negotiation,” he said.BT shares fell as much as 3.7% and TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc slipped 2.8% after it paused talks to sell its own fiber project, FibreNation Ltd., following Labour’s announcement.But there were other factors in play, including a record payment by BT to retain Champions League soccer rights. BT shares recouped most of their loss later as analysts played down Labour’s chances of winning the majority it would need to carry out its plan.There was also criticism of Labour’s plan to tax multinational companies based on the size of their U.K. activities. Technology companies often book their U.K. sales through countries such as Ireland or the Netherlands, making taxation based on sales difficult to enforce. Companies could take jobs to other countries to avoid the U.K. tax, analysts said.Nicky Morgan, the Conservative cabinet minister with responsibility for digital services, dismissed Corbyn’s plan in a statement as a “fantasy” that “would cost hardworking taxpayers tens of billions” of pounds.Still, Corbyn is unlikely to lose much sleep over the criticism at this stage of the campaign. Free broadband access and making big tech firms pay more tax have popular appeal, and trailing the Tories by double digits in many opinion polls, he needs some bold moves to cut through.In 2017, his promises to re-nationalize rail, water and mail services proved popular with voters and contributed to then Prime Minister Theresa May losing her parliamentary majority. Corbyn will be hoping for even better this time.\--With assistance from Thomas Seal, Thomas Pfeiffer and Giles Turner.To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, Stuart Biggs, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Labour’s BT Nationalization Plan May Be Easier With Hard Brexit

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. Labour Party’s plans to nationalize BT Group Plc’s broadband network and provide free service for all may force its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to perform a delicate balancing act with European Union rules -- and maybe even with his Brexit campaign pledges.Some analysts responding to Friday’s announcement said the proposal raises legal issues. EU state aid rules aim to stop European governments subsidizing a company at the expense of rivals across the bloc. They prevent states propping up failing firms, paying too much for a troubled company or avoiding taxes or charges that others have to pay.However, the rules don’t automatically rule out nationalization, said James Webber, competition lawyer at Shearman & Sterling in London.“There may be a debate about their other proposal to also provide free broadband, especially when there is already a competitive market for this,” he said. “But even here EU law offers significantly more room than many people think.”The purchase price of an asset is a key issue in questions about the legality of state aid. The rules forbid governments from overpaying for businesses, because that could unfairly bolster their competitive position, said Mohammed Khalil, senior consultant on state aid at economics consultancy Oxera. As far as state aid rules go, underpaying is fine, he said.So Corbyn wouldn’t be able to fast-track nationalization by splashing out for Openreach, which Jefferies analysts estimate is worth 13.5 billion pounds ($17.4 billion).Human RightsHowever, a Labour government couldn’t low-ball BT shareholders either: the bloc’s human rights directives, currently mirrored in U.K. law as well as investor protection treaties Britain has signed with other countries, would force the government to pay market rates, said Chris Watson, head of the telecom, media and communication practice at CMS. Otherwise, it risks being accused of unfair confiscation, he said.The Labour Party said the cost of nationalizing Openreach will be 20 billion pounds, and that investors would receive U.K. government bonds as payment for their shares.Even if Corbyn managed to find an acceptable price and nationalize Openreach into a new service, which Labour is calling British Broadband, his EU legal minefields wouldn’t be clear.Providing free broadband and undercutting offerings from competitors such as Liberty Global Plc’s Virgin Media would disadvantage investors who have bought into Openreach’s rivals on the expectation that they’d make a profit. It’s hard for BT’s rivals to do that if they face a competitor who doesn’t charge a price.This could generate legal challenges from stakeholders in the private firms, who may claim that the government is favoring one business in an industry at the expense of others, something that would violate EU state aid rules, said Caroline Ramsay, expert in public procurement and state aid law at TLT LLP.“When you go and nationalize an organization that’s already competing in a competitive market -- and it is -- that can create a risk of challenge,” she said. “However the state decides to keep British Broadband going, it’s probably not going to be on a commercial basis. That then means that they could be a beneficiary of state aid.”Hard BrexitWouldn’t nationalization of Openreach be easier if Britain were no longer a member of the EU? That would give a Labour-led government more flexibility on the price it pays for the asset, and help it worry less about the knock-on impact to competitors like Virgin Media or TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc.But Labour’s campaign platform states a preference for a post-Brexit relationship aligned on EU rules. A post-Brexit nationalization plan would likely still need to account for the bloc’s state aid and human rights rules.Corbyn could avoid this by changing tack and arguing for a hard Brexit. If so, he would have to give up his central promise for a softer, worker-friendly divorce than what Prime Minister Boris Johnson is proposing.Even with a Brexit deal that devolved antitrust oversight to the U.K., “the Competition and Markets Authority would to some extent be tied by same rules as the European Commission imposes today,” said Oxera’s Khalil. “So it’s only in a very hard, rigid, Brexit no-deal that it may be easier to have more control over your industrial policy.”John McDonnell, who is vying to become the next Chancellor of the Exchequer after the Dec. 12 general election, said the party has taken advice from lawyers to ensure its broadband plan fits within European Union state aid rules in case the U.K. is still in the bloc when the plans are carried out.And, when faced with these arguments on state aid, Labour could point to one of Britain’s most revered institutions: the National Health Service.“The state offers the National Health Service free of charge at the point of consumption, there are private health providers, and I don’t see anyone saying the NHS is therefore illegal,” said Watson. “So it’s not clear to me on what basis offering a basic broadband service for free would be illegal.”\--With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni and Aoife White.To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Seal in London at tseal@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at, Jennifer Ryan, Thomas PfeifferFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    EXPLAINER-What's behind Labour's plan to overhaul BT and the British broadband network?

    Britain's opposition Labour Party says if it wins the Dec. 12 election it will nationalise BT's broadband network and provide free internet for all within a decade, a radical election pledge to roll back decades of private ownership. The UK's biggest broadband and mobile phone provider was the flagship of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's policy of selling state-owned assets, a political revolution that she said would improve efficiency and "spread the nation's wealth among as many people as possible".

  • Labour Vows Free Internet, Johnson Defends Flood Aid: U.K. Election Update

    Labour Vows Free Internet, Johnson Defends Flood Aid: U.K. Election Update

    (Bloomberg) -- Prince Andrew’s interview about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein is dominating the news, but British politicians are avoiding the subject. From a political perspective the most interesting news is Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that every Conservative candidate has promised to back his Brexit deal.The Conservatives are also giving an outline of their plans for a post-Brexit immigration system, and Labour is talking about the National Health Service.For more on the U.K. election, click on ELECKey Developments:Conservatives drop fixed immigration targetLabour signs off its election manifestoLabour promises free dental care for allRaab Says No-Deal Brexit is Not Remotely Likely (10 a.m.)Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was questioned about the plan for the future trade agreement with the EU on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. While he admitted that it will necessarily be a compromise, he said there’s an opportunity to reach a “win-win” which is “great for the U.K. but also good for our European friends.”Asked if the U.K. could leave the EU without a deal, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “no, it’s not what we want to do.” He clarified, “I don’t think it’s remotely likely.”Labour Promises Free Dental Care for All (9 a.m.)Labour is continuing its approach of eye-catching offers for voters. After free broadband on Friday, Sunday’s was free dental care. Health spokesman Jon Ashworth told Sky News that people unable to afford to visit dentists were treating themselves using kits from budget shops.Conservatives Drop Fixed Immigration Target (8:45 a.m.)Security Minister Brandon Lewis told Sky News that after Brexit the Conservatives want to treat migrants from the European Union the same way as those from the rest of the world. He promised a five-year wait before people can claim welfare payments. But he backed away from the promise the Conservatives have been making -- and failing to keep -- for a decade, to reduce net immigration below 100,000 a year.“We’ll not set arbitrary targets,” he said. “I’m not getting into those kind of issues that we’ve had before. We will reduce immigration because when we leave the EU we will pass an immigration act that brings in a points-based system.”All Conservative Candidates Pledge to Back Brexit Deal (Overnight)If Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins a majority on Dec. 12, his chances of swiftly passing his Brexit deal are increased by his announcement that all his candidates have promised to back it. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, he said: “All 635 Conservative candidates standing at this election -- every single one of them -- has pledged to me that if elected they will vote in Parliament to pass my Brexit deal so we can end the uncertainty and finally leave the EU. I am offering a pact with the people: if you vote Conservative you can be 100% sure a majority Conservative government will unblock Parliament and get Brexit done.”It’s a significant pledge because the biggest obstacle to getting Brexit deals through Parliament has been the inability of Conservatives to agree about what kind of Brexit they want. But what it probably doesn’t cover is the next stage of Brexit, which is likely to revive arguments about how close the U.K. wants to be to the EU.Labour Agrees on Election Manifesto (Overnight)The opposition Labour Party signed off its policy platform for the election. It won’t be unveiled until Thursday, but some leaks include:A “Right to Food Act” introducing price controls, according to the MailA windfall tax on oil companies, according to the MailAn expansion of the sugar tax, according to the MailDropping a plan to allow private tenants to buy their homes, according to the FTEarlier:Corbyn Seeks to Use Britain’s NHS as Election BattlegroundPrince Andrew Bombs in BBC Interview, Raising More QuestionsTo contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at;Lucy Meakin in London at lmeakin1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, James Amott, Sara MarleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UK Liberal Democrats say they could back minority government on 'issue-by-issue' basis

    Britain's anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats could support a minority Labour or Conservative Party government on an issue-by-issue basis if a Dec. 12 election does not produce a clear winner, the party's finance spokesman Ed Davey said on Friday. "If either of them form a minority government, as is possible, we will vote issue by issue... that will force any government to come to the centre to be more moderate," Davey told an audience in Leeds, northern England. Davey said the party would not vote to make Conservative leader Boris Johnson nor Labour's Jeremy Corbyn prime minister.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 1-Sterling jumps against dollar after Brexit party quits more races

    Sterling rose to a 10-day high against the U.S. dollar on Friday as Brexit Party candidates stood down from over 40 seats not held by the Conservative Party, which traders saw as a move that would help the Conservatives gain a majority in the upcoming UK elections. The pound has been rising in the past week as polls suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative party could win a majority at the Dec. 12 election, which is seen as increasing the chances of the UK leaving the European Union with a deal on Jan. 31. The Brexit party has stood down from 43 non-Conservative seats, 11 of which are held by the main opposition Labour Party and 17 of which saw the Conservative Party finish in second place in the 2017, according to a Telegraph reporter.

  • Jeremy Corbyn Wants to Nationalize the Internet

    Jeremy Corbyn Wants to Nationalize the Internet

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is behind in the polls for the U.K. election so it’s unsurprising that he’s chucking out more giveaways to voters. The policy to nationalize BT Group Plc’s fixed-telecoms networks business and provide free fiber broadband to every British household is a humdinger nonetheless.Of course, the chances of this becoming reality are slim given that Corbyn’s best hope of becoming prime minister is a coalition with more moderate political parties. Yet the idea has stimulated even more debate than Labour’s previous plans to re-nationalize the railways and the energy utilities, so it’s at least worth thinking about. Taking it at face value, the policy would be a huge mistake that would achieve the opposite of its stated aim of accelerating Britain’s sluggish rollout of fiber broadband.First, there’s the cost. A Labour government would add 15 billion pounds ($19 billion) to an existing 5 billion pound broadband spending pot, according to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Even assuming that would cover the required capital expenditure — a big assumption — it would cost at least the same again to nationalize Openreach, BT’s networks division.McDonnell says the state would pay for the acquisition by giving BT’s shareholders government bonds as compensation. Yet why would investors, especially those outside the U.K. protected by treaties against asset expropriation, exchange an 8.1% annual dividend yield from their BT stock for the less than 1% returns from U.K. gilts? The network spending itself would be funded by an increased tax on the likes of Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Inc. But the G-20 will probably adopt new international tax standards next year to try to curb Big Tech’s avoidance tactics. So a Labour government might not even be able to whomp up these levies without breaching the new guidelines.Then there’s the speed of rolling out the networks. While the U.K. is well behind the pace on high-speed broadband rollout (it’s 10th in the European Union’s 2019 connectivity rankings), a tortured nationalization process isn’t the answer. BT would have no incentive to keep investing during that period.The same’s true for private competitors such as John Malone’s Virgin Media, Vodafone Group Plc and Comcast Corp.’s Sky. Increased competition has at least accelerated the pace of the rollout: The proportion of homes with fiber access has doubled in two years.Infrastructure investors have also been attracted by the returns promised by fiber, prompting a flurry of investment from KKR & Co., Macquarie’s infrastructure fund and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. McDonnell’s comments have certainly caused some consternation. TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc. said it had paused talks to sell a fiber project, for which Goldman-backed CityFibre Ltd. was the lead bidder. Should Labour ever get the chance to offer free broadband to everyone through a state-owned provider, tens of thousands of private sector jobs would be jeopardized. How would other companies be able to compete?And full-fiber broadband might not even really be necessary. The adoption of next-generation 5G mobile networks promises the ability to transmit far more data at far greater speeds. That would make fiber to every home redundant in parts of the country.There are better and more thoughtful ways to get fiber installed sooner: Making it easier to get permits to build the network; permanently reducing business tax rates for new fiber; and making it obligatory for customers to accept fiber upgrades. If McDonnell is willing to hand over 15 billion pounds to BT shareholders to snap up Openreach, why not use the funds to subsidize the rollout directly?To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.K. Labour Plans to Nationalize BT’s Broadband Unit

    U.K. Labour Plans to Nationalize BT’s Broadband Unit

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Britain’s Labour party pledged to offer all consumers free fiber broadband within a decade by nationalizing phone carrier BT Group Plc’s Openreach unit at a cost of 20 billion pounds ($26 billion).BT shareholders would get newly-issued government bonds in return for their shares, Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said in a speech in Lancaster, England on Friday. Shares of BT fell as much as 3.7%.It’s the biggest new pledge of the election campaign from Labour, which already has plans to nationalize the postal service, the railways and water and energy utilities. The broadband effort would be financed in part with taxes on multinational companies such as Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. While the proposals may win over some voters, Labour may not be in a position to implement them. It has an average of 29% support in recent polls, trailing the Conservatives at 40%.“A Labour government will make broadband free for everybody,” party leader Jeremy Corbyn said at the campaign event at Lancaster University. “This is core infrastructure for the 21st century. It’s too important to be left to the corporations.”McDonnell said the new broadband pledge would be funded by asking “tech giants like Google and Facebook to pay a bit more” in proportion to their activities in the U.K. “So if a multinational has 10% of its sales, workforce, and operations in the U.K., they’re asked to pay tax on 10% of their global profits,” McDonnell said.While Labour puts the cost of the plan at about 20 billion pounds, BT’s Chief Executive Officer Philip Jansen said the proposal would cost almost five times that amount.BT shares were down 1.6% as of 12:29 p.m. in London, suggesting shareholders aren’t too worried about the nationalization risk. That gives the company a market value of about 19 billion pounds.“These are very very ambitious ideas,” Jansen said Friday in an interview on BBC Radio 4. “The Conservative Party have their own ambitious ideas for full fiber for everybody by 2025.”“How we do it is not straightforward, it needs funding,” Jansen said, putting the cost of such a roll-out over eight years at “not short of 100 billion pounds.”Lower Value?BT has been working to speed up its own full-fiber build and Jansen said the company’s shares have fallen on the recognition that “we’re going to be investing very very heavily.” Shareholders “are nursing massive losses on their investment” in BT if they’d bought it a few years ago, he said.Investors could get burned, as Openreach’s business would likely be undervalued in an expropriation, New Street analyst James Ratzer said in an email, adding that nationalization “rarely works well for shareholders.” Analysts at Jefferies put Openreach’s value at 13.5 billion pounds, flagging annual costs for operations and to service its high pension deficit.Labour’s McDonnell said the party has taken advice from lawyers to ensure its broadband plan fits within European Union state aid rules in case the U.K. is still in the bloc when the plans are carried out.Britain LaggingCorbyn’s plan is meant to solve a connectivity gap: Britain lags far behind other European nations when it comes to full-fiber coverage, which allows for gigabit-per-second download speeds. About 8% of the country is connected -- just under 2.5 million properties, according to a September report by communications regulator Ofcom. That compares with 63% for Spain and 86% for Portugal.As policymakers and regulators have been creating conditions to spur more competition with BT, rivals including Liberty Global Plc’s Virgin Media and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.-backed CityFibre have been jumping in to commit billions of pounds to infrastructure plans.“Those plans risk being shelved overnight,” Matthew Howett, an analyst at Assembly, said in an email. “This is a spectacularly bad take by the Labour Party.”The Labour announcement caused TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc to pause talks to sell a fiber project as the industry seeks clarity.Analysts are skeptical the government could roll out fiber more effectively than private industry and Howett pointed to delays and budget overruns from a state-led effort in Australia.It’s not the first time radical ideas have been proposed for BT’s Openreach unit, a national network of copper wire and fiber-optic cable that communication providers including BT, Comcast Corp.’s Sky and Vodafone Group Plc tap into to provide home internet to customers.BT was forced to legally separate the division from the rest of the company in recent years over concerns about competition, and that it wasn’t investing fast enough to roll out fiber, and some investors have suggested the company should fully spin it out into an independent, listed business to unlock value.‘Fantasy’ PlanNicky Morgan, the Conservative cabinet minister with responsibility for digital services, dismissed Corbyn’s plan in a statement as a “fantasy” that “would cost hardworking taxpayers tens of billions” of pounds.The Conservative Party’s own proposal for full-fiber broadband across the U.K. by 2025 -- eight years ahead of a previous government goal -- has raised eyebrows across the telecom industry, as some executives and analysts expressed skepticism about whether it’s doable, whether there’s consumer demand for the ultrafast internet service and how companies would make money.‘A Disaster’TechUK, the industry’s main trade body, called Labour’s plan “a disaster” for the telecom sector. “Renationalization would immediately halt the investment being driven not just by BT but the growing number of new and innovative companies that compete with BT,” said Chief Executive Officer Julian David.The announcement will provide more fodder for the arguments by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives that a Labour government risks plunging the country into an economic crisis. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid over the weekend released analysis estimating Labour would raise spending by 1.2 trillion pounds over five years. McDonnell at the time called it “fake news.”McDonnell said Parliament would set the value of Openreach when it’s taken into public ownership and that shareholders would be compensated with government bonds.Under Labour’s plan, the roll-out would begin in areas with the worst broadband access, including rural communities, followed by towns and then by areas that are currently well-served by fast broadband.According to elections expert John Curtice, Corbyn’s chances of forming a majority government are “as close to zero” as it’s possible to get. The election is still hard to predict, and it is possible that Labour could yet win power, either on its own or with the support of smaller parties.(Updates with Corbyn remarks in fourth paragraph, McDonnell in fifth.)\--With assistance from Jennifer Ryan and Kit Rees.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at;Thomas Seal in London at tseal@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at, ;Tim Ross at, Frank ConnellyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    'Crazed Communist scheme,' PM Johnson says of Corbyn's plan for BT

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's plan to nationalise BT's network was a "crazed Communist scheme". Johnson, speaking before a campaign bus emblazoned with the slogan "Get Brexit Done", said delivering Brexit would clear Britain's arteries. "It will be something that clears our arteries, it will unblock our system, it will get us back on our feet and able to take advantage of all the things that we want to get from Brexit," he said.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Labour plans tax on global firms' profits based on UK presence

    A British government led by the Labour Party would tax multinational companies' global profits based on their presence in Britain, the party's finance spokesman said on Friday. "So if a multinational has 10% of its sales, workforce, and operations in the UK, they're asked to pay tax on 10% of their global profits," John McDonnell said in a speech on Friday ahead of the Dec. 12 national election.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 1-BT keeps Champions League soccer rights in $1.5 billion UK deal

    BT has retained the UK broadcast rights to Champions League soccer for three years from 2021 at an annual cost of 400 million pounds ($512 million), despite reported competition from rival Sky. The renegotiation had been seen as a test of the appetite of BT Chief Executive Philip Jansen, who took on the role in February, to spend on sports rights. The deal also covers matches from the Europa League and a planned third competition for European clubs, BT said in a statement on Friday.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 2-European shares clock sixth weekly gain on trade cheer

    European shares clocked a sixth-straight week of gains on Friday following record highs on Wall Street after bullish comments from a White House official on U.S.-China trade talks. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4%, close to four-year highs it hit last week, with most sectors ending in the black. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late on Thursday Washington and Beijing were getting close to a trade agreement, citing what he called very constructive talks with Beijing about ending a 16-month trade war.

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