Would these areas be better off if BT used the money to increase payments to staff, pensioners and shareholders who would in turn spend the money in the local economy rather than spending on stuff nobody wants to buy?
No. If BT had the ability to do that they'd be making too much money and would be regulated accordingly.
The payments to pensioners are quite subsidised enough by existing shareholders and customers. The company claims it'll be able to preserve its dividends. If it were able to do that and buy back its own shares based on what Openreach are spending or not spending Ofcom would likely want a chat.
Staff are presumably paid the market rate for their services. If they are unhappy with their remuneration package and conditions other employers are available and there's a fair degree of unionisation so collective bargaining can be done.
Either way I would hope the capital expenditure budget and operating expenditure budget are quite different things. Due to the regulation BT Group can pour money into Openreach at their convenience however transfers the other way will, rightly, be a cause for concern.
Areas where people all buy Infinity 1 are not the norm that's presumably the demographics of the area - nationwide there are more people on 80Mb services than 40Mb now I believe. With other operators building for BT to have the funds to continue to pay their staff, continue to pay their shareholders and manage their bills they have deduced they need to invest. Vodafone et al aren't going after just their retail operation, they want the wholesale cash too, and with the insane prices Openreach charge for FTTP at the higher end and the lack of any products above 330Mb it does become an 'issue'.
Rest assured, BT aren't doing this for their health and aren't doing it because they feel like it. They're doing it to preserve market share, preserve revenues and, in time, protect profit margins. They will save a lot of money from shutting down exchanges in terms of rent, power, etc, and a lot of staffing costs in not having metal to maintain.
Openreach staff obviously may not like this but when it comes down to it if Vodafone and others are building there are no real options. Openreach either lose the metal or lose out entirely.
Edited by Ignitionnet (Mon 14-May-18 11:04:26)