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BT increased its customer base by 263,000 – including wholesale additions - during the third quarter of the year, it has been revealed.

According to the broadband provider, this was up from 251,000 in the previous quarter, with BT Retail achieving a market-leading 63 per cent share of these additions.

The firm claimed demand is building for fibre broadband, with 88,000 new BT Infinity customers joining between July and September 2011.

BT revenues fell by two per cent to £4.9 billion, but operating profit was up by four per cent on the quarter and pre-tax profit was up 15 per cent to £570 million.

Ian Livingston, BT Chief Executive, said there had been "positive operational performances" in most of the company's businesses.

"We expect to continue to offset the economic headwinds through improved customer service and processes, better efficiency, and investment in the future of the business," he stated.

"This strategy and our financial results allow us to invest when others are merely talking about it."

Mr Livingston also confirmed that BT is accelerating its fibre roll-out programme to cover two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014 – one year earlier than planned.

In doing so, the broadband provider will create an additional 520 jobs around the UK.

"With the already announced government support, we believe there is the potential for fibre-based services to reach more than 90 per cent of the UK within a few years thereafter," Mr Livingston added.

Earlier this week, BT's major rival Virgin Media claimed it had extended its fibre broadband network to cover a third of the UK population.

However, BT's 166,000 customer acquisition of far outpaced the 19,000 new subscribers secured by Virgin Media over the last three months.

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