BT claims UK broadband supremacy

BT has overtaken Virgin Media to once again become the UK's largest broadband provider, the telecom firm has said.

The group said it had won 26% of the market and now had 3.66 million broadband customers.

Regaining pole position, which it lost about a year ago, helped it increase annual profits by 15% to £2.49bn in the year to the end of March, BT added.

Chief executive Ben Verwaayen said the company had finished the year "with a terrific all round performance".

The group also announced it would be returning £2.5bn to investors through a share buy-back scheme within the next two years.

The importance of the broadband market was underlined by news that revenues from its traditional fixed-line phone business had fallen 3%, which BT said was "continuing recent trends".

BT is hoping to tempt more broadband customers through its BT Vision service which mixes digital TV channels, received via a Freeview decoder, with on-demand programmes delivered via broadband.

The service's set-top box, which competes with products from rivals including BSkyB, also allows users to record up to 80 hours of television programmes.

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