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Anorak | BT’s worth more as scrap copper than it is as a telecoms company

BT’s worth more as scrap copper than it is as a telecoms company

by | 26th, February 2013

BT’s worth more as scrap copper than it is as a telecoms company.Not that this will come as a huge surprise to anyone who has actually had to use BT of course. But from this it’s easy enough to calculate that BT is worth more as a mountain of scrap copper wire than it is as a functioning (ahem) telecoms company

BT’s network relies on more than 75 million miles of copper cable

I did actually check this with BT, you know, that real reporting stuff. And they said yes, that number’s about right.

Low end telephone cable is around 125 kg a mile, giving us 10 million tonnes of copper in the network. The current price of copper is just over £5,000 a tonne. So that’s a copper value of around £50 billion then.

You can go and buy BT today on the stock market for a little over £20 billion. So it’s worth vastly more as a pile of copper scrap than it is as a telephone company.

Well, alright, this isn’t entirely and wholly true. Not all of the wire is copper, scrap doesn’t get the full London Metals Exchange price, but that doesn’t change the sums all that much. Even if we apply a 50% discount then the copper is still worth around and about the same as the company. Meaning that all that land, all those buildings, come for free.

What’s even more fun is that BT themselves say that the cost of replacing all the copper with fibre optics would be about £20 billion. Which is less than the value of the copper they’d be getting in return. So they could in fact wire the entire country for broadband for free.



Posted: 26th, February 2013 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink